Elite unis attacked over fees

The Australian   8 August 2012

Angry that the Group of Eight, led by University of NSW vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer, is publicly spruiking for the removal of fee caps at the same time universities are attempting to agree on a joint position, UWS acting vice-chancellor Rhonda Hawkins has broken ranks and called for a more open debate on the issue.

The euphemisms about fee flexibility and fee deregulation have to be debunked. It is a fee increase.  It lacks the integrity of an open and public debate.

Hawkins’s attack also into question the ability of Universities Australia to develop a unified policy to take into the next election.

She said although there appeared little prospect of further increases in government funding, she questioned whether it was fair to simply charge students more. Fees already were at a “tipping point”. If they were to rise further it risked locking out debt-wary poorer students.

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