Otago Daily Times

Fees hike for domestic students

- HAMISH MACLEAN

DOMESTIC University of Otago students will face increased tuition fees next year as Covid19 puts a more than $17 million hole in the university’s budget.

The University Council yesterday approved a 1.1% increase in all domestic tuition fees for 2021 compared with this year’s fees, the maximum allowed.

University chief financial officer Sharon van Turnhout’s report to the council shows the university is expecting a $17.3 million loss in income from internatio­nal tuition fees next year if Covid19 border closures remain in place.

Ms van Turnhout said student achievemen­t component funding would increase $4.9 million.

But even with the maximum allowable fee increase, as domestic tuition fees brought in an added $2.5 million, the university’s budgets would continue to be under pressure next year due to the impact of Covid19, and would fail to meet the Tertiary Education Commission’s guidelines for group surpluses.

A ‘‘reasonable surplus’’ was required to help fund the university’s capital programme, which addressed compliance issues such as seismic strengthen­ing.

Tuition fee costs for firstyear domestic students, including the 1.1% increase, would be met by the Government under its feesfree firstyear system, she said.

It was agreed next year’s compulsory student services fees would be $879 inclusive of GST, a 6% increase on this year.

This increase was required to compensate for the projected drop in equivalent full time students and to recover costs, Ms van Turnhout said.

Otago University Students’ Associatio­n president Jack Manning voted against the increases, citing an opposition to barriers to accessibil­ity of education.

 ?? PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR ?? The University Council yesterday approved a 1.1% increase in all domestic tuition fees for next year.
PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR The University Council yesterday approved a 1.1% increase in all domestic tuition fees for next year.

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