IN DISCUSSION: Third year medical students Tristan McAlpine, Jeanie Paton, Danielle Coutanche, Matt Gibbs and Vanessa Hewitt at the University of Wollongong’s Shoalhaven Campus.THERE have been mixed reactions to the newly introduced student services and amenities fee at the University of Wollongong’s Shoalhaven Campus.
A compulsory annual levy of up to $263 per student has been introduced at UoW after the federal government passed
legislation allowing higher education providers to charge the fee from January.
Head of Shoalhaven Campus Robbie Collins said Shoalhaven students would pay half of what Wollongong students had to pay, with part-timers paying only a quarter of the full amount.
Fees collected from regional campuses will go into a pool that would be spent only on projects to improve amenities at those campuses.
Ms Collins said that with the 600 students at Shoalhaven and only 40 per cent studying full-time, the campus would end up receiving about $8000
She conceded some students would have difficulty paying the fee however they had the opportunity to add it to their HECS debt.
“I was definitely frustrated at first, but at the same time, if it is necessary then I’m not going to whinge about it,” said third year arts student Molly Moyes.
Fellow student Lesli Kirwan from West Nowra said she first thought the fee was “ridiculous”, however after learning it might supplement the computer labs and library thought it was reasonable.
As part of the implementation of the fee, higher education providers are required to consult with students about what the fee revenue should be spent on.
Ms Collins is keen to bring music events to the campus and improve bus and shuttle services.
Ms Kirwan would like to see the money spent on something to get the students moving and interacting.
“We do have the services we need but what we don’t have is something to relax our minds. Wollongong has swimming pools and gyms. Just one room out the back with maybe a bike or treadmill would be enough,” she said.
Third year medical student Vanessa Hewitt has studied at Wollongong and Shoalhaven campuses for seven years.
“I was at uni back when they had the student union fee and services were a lot cheaper. By reintroducing the new fee, I would hope to see food, the gym, and other services become cheaper, like they used to be,” she said.
Yvette Hopper from Sanctuary Point would like to see the services money spent on something to engage or bring the campus together, as well as better bus services to more remote locations.
“I would like something to enable social interaction like a pool, gym, or movie theatre,” she said.
Students are being asked to provide their comments on how they would
like the money spent. Ms Collins
said students can email her at [email protected], or fill out the submission form at www.uow.edu.au/student/representation/ssa/
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