Student Card Replacement Fees Highest in the Country6 September 2018
The University of Melbourne’s student card replacement fee is the highest in the country, and at $50 is nearly double the average national cost. Meanwhile, staff members who spoke with Farrago have been able to acquire replacement staff cards free of charge.
Students must pay this fee unless they can provide a police report that explicitly states their card has been stolen, or present their faulty card.
While the fee is one incentive for students to look after their cards, the price of replacing this essential tool for university life seems misaligned with production costs.
A University spokesperson said the cost of replacements is based on the “total cost of providing this service”.
“This includes, but is not limited to, a variety of factors such as the cost of the printing software and hardware, onsite support, and staffing costs, as well as the card itself,” they said.
The spokesperson explained that the fee review process considered changes other universities have placed on card replacement. The University of Melbourne’s replacement fee, however, is the highest Farrago has found in Australia. The closest was $42 at Monash University, while the cheapest fees were $10 at the University of Tasmania, and $15 at the University of Western Australia (UWA).
The average replacement cost across the universities consulted was $26. Deakin University, RMIT University and the Universities of Adelaide, Queensland, New South Wales and Sydney all charge between $20 and $25, with Victoria University and the Australian National University both charging $30.
“The University only aims to cover the cost of providing the service, not to raise additional revenues,” the University of Melbourne spokesperson said.
Students, however, have a different perspective.
“I think that the costs are ridiculous … the fact that it’s $50 when you just go to Stop 1 and they hand you a card within five minutes is insane,” said arts student Georgia Walton Briggs, who recently paid the fee to have her card replaced.
University of Melbourne Student Union Education (Academic) Officer Toby Silcock said, “At most these student cards should be whatever they cost the Uni and at best they should be free … This is just a way for the Uni to make money off students.”
Most staff Farrago spoke with were unaware of the differences between student and staff card replacement fees. Meanwhile, UWA charges $16.50 to replace staff cards, as opposed to $15 for students.