Thursday, October 13, 2005
Form letter to TEC
Ok, I said I'd do this and here 'tis. Below is a form letter asking the Tertiary Education Commision not to approve a ten percent increase in domestic tuition fees at Victoria University. After the PR-disaster for VUW that was the injunction, I'm not sure they will even ask for it but better safe than sorry.
Note that my technologically-redundant self can't figure out how to put this on another page, or anything flash like that, so either copy and paste it into Word or do whatever it is technologically able people do with these things.
The letter below is a form one, so please change it to reflect your own style and so they don't tune out immediately:)
Contact details for the Tertiary Education Commission can be found here. Sadly, the Chair of the Commission is Russell Marshall, former Chancellor of VUW. There are nine other Comissioners, feel free to send only one letter or address them individually. Information on the Commissioners can be found here.
Dear Commissioners/[insert name]
I am writing in regard to a possible request by the Victoria University of Wellington Council to the Commission to allow a fee increase above the five percent prescribed in the Fee Maxima Scheme: that is, a fee increase for domestic students up to ten percent.
I strongly oppose any move by the TEC to grant such a request. I believe it would be contrary to the Tertiary Education Strategy, statements by the Minister of Education and the goals of TEC to allow such a request by Victoria.
Requests for increases above the Maxima are only supposed to be granted in extraordinary circumstances. Victoria University is not in dire financial need, nor is it likely to be. It has consistently posted healthy surpluses, which are expanded when related bodies such as VicLink are included in the cumulative surplus. There are no circumstances in the situation of Victoria University that could be considered extraordinary.
One of the key changes identified in the Tertiary Education Strategy is to "Increase responsiveness to the needs of, and wider access for, learners". Allowing further increases in domestic tuition fees restrict access to tertiary education as is not at all responsive to the needs of learners. At a time when student debt has reached $8 billion, and not all students receive a student allowance, it is unduly harsh to allow such large increases in tuition fees.
Subsequent to the increase of domestic fees at Victoria in 2004 (an increase of 4.7%) the Minister of Education, the Hon Trevor Mallard, stated that fees should not be increasing. For the TEC to then grant the request of Victoria University for a large increase would go against the public statements of the Minister responsible for the Commission.
TEC are focused on providing a high quality knowledge economy. However, regular increases in domestic tuition fees are making tertiary education, and therefore a knowledge economy, increasingly difficult to achieve.
For all these reasons, and many more, I would ask that any request by Victoria University for the TEC to allow a fee increase above the Maxima be denied.
Change it how you will, but send it soon - VUW fee setting is on October 31st.
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