The Government today released revised Student Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy Guidelines which underpin the Higher Education Support Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill.
The Bill will assist universities in rebuilding vital student services and amenities to ensure that they can support their growing student populations. It will allow universities to choose to charge a fee for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature of up to $263 for 2012.
While students can pay the student and services amenities fee upfront if they wish, most will be able to take the option of deferring payment, through the HECS system, until they are earning a decent income.
“Students have a clear interest in how their fees are being spent. Universities will be required to consult with students on the specific uses of the proceeds from any services and amenities fees,” said Senator Evans.
Under the Guidelines, higher education providers must have a formal process of consultation with democratically elected student representatives as well as representatives from major student organisations on how proceeds from any services and amenities fees are spent.
Consultation must include:
- publishing identified priorities for proposed fee expenditure and allowing opportunities for comment by students and student organisations; and
- meeting with democratically elected student representatives and student organisations at the higher education provider to consider where the fee revenue can be spent.
“After years of ideological opposition by the Liberal Party, it is urgent that the Bill is now passed so that students have access to better services when they start university next year,” said Senator Evans.
Copies of the draft Representation Guidelines are available at www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation.