University forced to increase fees

By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au

NEW STUDENTS enrolling at Central Queensland University (CQU) are in for a nasty shock from next year, after the university's decision to increase Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) fees by 15 per cent.

Despite the university's pledge not to increase HECS fees after the federal government reforms last year ? when many universities chose to increase fees by the maximum 25 per cent ? CQU has now opted for a 15 per cent increase.

Mature-age student Luke Christie, who has been studying a Bachelor of Business in information systems for the past two years, said he was glad he was already enrolled at the university, and would have reconsidered attending CQU if the higher fees were in place when he enrolled.

"I suppose it does make CQU more attractive in one way, because other universities have increased their fees by 25 per cent, but it would definitely put me off going to uni ? I was thinking about getting a job and starting a second degree part-time but I won't do it now if I have to pay extra fees,'' he said.

CQU Student Association president Brendan Kirkman said it was "unfortunate'' that new students would have to fork out the extra 15 per cent, but that the increase was a direct result of the federal government's lack of funding for universities.

"Universities are being forced to make up costs in other areas, and already cash-strapped students are having to brunt the costs,'' he said.

He said the increase was a "last resort'' for the university, and that some high priority courses, including nursing, would be exempt from the increase.



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