Stop Victoria's Planned Hall Fee Increase

Stop Victoria's Planned Hall Fee Increase

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VUW Halls Residents started this petition to Victoria University of Wellington

To Rainsforth Dix (Director of Student and Campus Living), Professor Grant Guilford (Vice Chancellor of VUW), and the Victoria University of Wellington Accommodation Team

As past and present residents of several Victoria University of Wellington Halls of Residence, we are frustrated to learn that the University plans to increase the price of student accommodation in 2020.

Paying to stay in a university hall is already a financial struggle for many students. For those of us who did not come from a wealthy family, we often relied on part-time work and other sources of income to stay at a hall during our first year of study.

While part-time work is a fact of life for many students in Wellington, we fear that a large increase in the price of student accommodation would require many first-year students to pursue longer hours of work to cover these costs, hours of work that are not compatible with, or conducive toward, full time, first-year university study (an already stressful transition period).

There are also many people in New Zealand who choose not to pursue university study at all (especially in Wellington) because the cost of being a student here is too expensive, whether that involve living in a hall or flatting. If the price of student accommodation were to increase, many first-year students may pursue flatting as their first choice, and it is not unreasonably to expect that this would place added demand on Wellington’s already oversaturated rental market, increasing rental prices even more.

Had the price of first-year student accommodation been anywhere between $2000 and $4000 more for a single year (as is proposed for several halls), many of us would have probably decided against studying at Victoria.

We also think it is unfair that, all too often, financial stress and barriers to study disproportionately affect students from poorer backgrounds. We feel that the university has some obligation to ensure that future first-year students are not needlessly disadvantaged in their ability to succeed academically because of something they cannot control, where it is within the University’s ability to do so.

We understand that the University has given reasons for the price increase. However, we wonder whether the magnitude of the price increase really is reasonable, and whether the likely effects of this price increase on the lives of prospective students were properly considered by the university before this decision was made.

As signatories of this petition, we request that Victoria strongly reconsider its decision to increase the price of student accommodation at their halls of residence in 2020, considering stated concerns that such an increase would exacerbate educational and social inequalities in New Zealand, making life more stressful than it needs to be for many first year students at Victoria. If the University can withstand a smaller increase in the price of student accommodation (or even no increase) then we believe it ought to do so.

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