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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 14. July 21, 1971

Fee Increase Sought

Fee Increase Sought

At the last Annual General Meeting of the Assoc the matter of a fee increase was deferred to a special General Meeting to be held in the second term. It was commented that the information presented, perporting to justify the fee recommendations, was inadequate. Further information is now available and is presented in the following article, where expenditure figures are stated at the minimum possible.

The reader's attention is also directed to an article appearing in salient number 10, written by the previous Treasurer (Richard Greenfield). It should be noted however that the recommended increase is now $5 and not $6 as proposed in that article.

Division of Fee Present Proposed Increase
Student Union Building A/c 7 8 1
Student Union Maintenance A/c 5 7 2
Trust A/c 1 1
Salient A/c 1 1
General A/c 5 7 2
$19 $24 $5

The proposed increase is divided into three parts.

Student Union Building Account ($1 increase)

At the present time $7 of the Association fee is allocated to the Building Fund. The proposed increased to $8 can be compared with the allocations at the other Universities, the figures speaking for themselves.

Auckland $10
Waikato $10
Massey $13.50
Canterbury $12
Lincoln $8
Otago $12

The building costs of the present Union facilities is $981,000. By the end of 1972 the original building will be debt free and the building fund allocation will finance extension with repayments. With the $1 increase, by the end of 1974 the fund will stand at $295,000, and with the 50% Government subsidy (based on 10 square feet per student) this should generate about $600,000.

Present planned extensions to the Union (Tower and Gymnasium contracts) will cost about $500,000 without equipment or furnature. However, cost increases in the building sector are in the order of 45% over the past 18 months so the proposed increase will do little more than keep pace with the rate of inflation: It will therefore be necessary to borrow to finance some of these stage I developments.

On the basis of official projected population estimate of 10,000 students in 1980, facilities will have to be at least doubled in order to maintain the present services offered by the Association. These will cost in the order of $2 million in stages and there is a need to set aside funds for this.

Student Union Maintenance Account ($2 increase)

An increase of $2 is necessary if the Association is to pay its proportion of the Union budget. This budget covers the running costs and maintenance of the Union Building, Memorial Theatre, Gymnasium and Tennis Pavilion.

The total budget for 1971 is $51,500 of which we pay half ($25,750). With the $5 fee a surplus of approximately $5,000 will result in the 1971 budget and this, with the previous years' surplus, is to be used to upgrade the Gym and Theatre.

In 1972 maintenance costs will rise approximately 15% to $58,800 and at $7 per head ($42,500) this will leave a surplus of $12,500. About $8000 of this is required for upgrading the ground floor cafeteria leaving reserves of $4,500 which will easily be utilised in other maintenance jobs.

1973 will see an extra 25,000 square feet added to the facilities thus increasing maintenance costs by 25%. This rise, coupled with the expected normal rise of 15%, means the total budget will approach $84,000 and at $7 per head students will provide $44,100. The $2,100 excess is barely adequate to cover additional maintenance contracts (eg painting, refurnishing etc.)

Although the University matches the Association portion of the maintenance fund equally, it also pays supervisory salories and the maintenance and administrative cost entirely out of university funds. Thus in reality the students' association pays about 1/3 of the total costs of running the Union. We may not always be blessed with this generosity on the part of the University.

Students' Association General Account ($2 increase)

Forecast of Income and Expentiture.

1971 1972 1973 1974
Projected No. of paying students 5714 5800 6040 6300
Income $ $ $ $
Fees: at $5 per student 28,570
Fees: at $7 per student 40,600 42,280 44,100
Interest, Dividends, Commissions 800 900 900 900
Total Income 29,370 41,500 43,180 45,000
Administration Expenses 9,334 10,560 11,320 12,030
Office & General Expenses 2,000 2,230 2,350 2,700
Wages 7,125 9,550 10,150 10,900
Honoraria 2,080 2,100 2,195 2,525
Students' Activities & grants 12,544 13,080 13,790 14,325
Total Expenses 33,083 37,610 39,805 42,480
Deficit (3,713)
Surplus 3,890 3,375 2,520

When it is considered that the past Treasurer "justified a $3 increase for the General Account in his salient article, and managed to show a net depicit of $515 over 5 years, it will be affeciated that the expenditures shown above are the minimum possible.

Indeed the surpluses for 1972, 1973 and 1974 cannot be regarded as excessive. The Association will have to go into overdraft to meet this years commitments and so the 1972 deficit and restore the Association's short-term liquidity position. Furthermore, because most budgets are always overspent it is somewhat doubtful whether the projected excesses will in fact occur.

I trust therefore that the information outlined is sufficient to explain the proposed increase, something which will not be popular but nevertheless inevitable.

Trevor Webb (Treasurer V.U.W.S.A.)