Massey tuition fee rise tipped

Massey University looks set to join Victoria University in a bid to hike tuition fees, with a report revealing its leadership is also eyeing a fee increase of up to 8 per cent for some programmes.

Massey University's domestic undergraduate and postgraduate tuition fees are set to increase by 4 per cent in 2013. But its council is now deciding whether, like its Wellington counterpart, it will seek permission to raise fees further.

Victoria University has sought permission to increase its fees by up to 8 per cent for its education, humanities and social sciences papers, subject to Tertiary Education Commission approval.

Universities can increase their fees by up to 4 per cent per year under the Government's annual maximum fee movement policy, and can in exceptional circumstances seek an increase up to 8 per cent.

A report made public this month by Massey's council cited a desire to "highlight the inequities associated with the relative fees across the university sub-sector."

Massey University spokesman James Gardiner said he could not speculate on the likelihood of an exemption being granted.

"That is up to the Tertiary Education Commission. The point about this is there is inequity within the university sector when it comes to domestic fee-setting and the inequity will increase if the gap between those with higher fees and those with average or below average fees continues to increase."

Victoria University had reported its low-fees undergraduate courses were costing it around $2.3 million a year.

"Massey is close to or below the sector average for all undergraduate fees and our fees for teaching programmes," Mr Gardiner said. "What we are talking about is finding a way to highlight the disparities and encouraging the Tertiary Education Commission to consider better solutions."

Massey University Students' Association president Alex Jones said the 4 per cent increase was relatively palatable for students. "It's a little bit of a mixed review from me. On one hand it's there because students are paying more, but if it means we can secure a quality education it can't be all bad. But it's a trade-off between what students are getting for the fee rise and what the university is using it for."

Massey University Extramural Students Society (EXMUSS) president and council member Ralph Springett speculated the application was unlikely to get a tick of approval.

Higher fees could alienate distance learners, he said. "As EXMUSS president I would say that this is not a good path to follow."

Manawatu Standard