Take a Hike

23 August 2017

Rising costs associated with many university services remain largely unaddressed even after a review into rising fees.

The Academic Consultation and Coordination Committee (ACCC) ordered a review into growing student service fees at the University of Melbourne over the last month.

Hopeful students and the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) associates awaited a verdict that would ease the widespread dissatisfaction felt by much of the student body.

The ACCC formulates proposals on “a wide variety of academic and student-related matters”, according to their mission statement. It has additionally taken on UMSU student representative, Conor Serong, in order to diversify its voice.

Yet, despite Serong’s admission, the review failed to explicitly address the fee hikes which have taken place within the last year.

The fees that have proved to be most troublesome are those relating to the graduation ceremony, replacement student cards and re-enrolment fees for various courses.

The graduation fees, for example, started at $155 in early 2016 only to amount to a colossal $215 by the year’s close.

Emma Visentin, a physiotherapy student at the University of Melbourne, tells Farrago that this is too expensive.

“A lot of people in my course are students who are working part time and don’t have that much money.”

Despite the cost, Visentin claims that she would participate in the ceremony regardless. This is something, perhaps, that cannot be said for all university students.

The ACCC review has, however, been effective in introducing online service, ‘My eQuals’. This service provides students with digital academic records and transcripts that are available to download for free at any time.

As a result, the transcript fees encountered in the postage and manufacture of a physical certificate are avoided.

A clue as to why the ACCC has not equally tackled the numerous other costs associated with the university experience may be provided by Vice Chancellor, Glyn Davis.

The Vice Chancellor explained that “student fees at Melbourne University will soar by 61 per cent in some courses to manage Federal Budget Cuts”, in an interview with journalist Michelle See-Tho.

Such increases in course fees may therefore spill over to the service arena. This means charges may continue to rise.

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