Fees policy goes under

January 30, 1998

Do we really have nothing to fear in following the Australian tuition fee example? Your report (Thes, January 23) about Australia's need for more full fee-paying students as opposed to those with state-subsidised places clearly justifies the fears of students and parents here that the new fee system will not pay its way and will ultimately lead to a need for welathy students ahead of poor.

The government here has set the fee-paying quota at two-thirds of home students, with only one -third on full fee exemption. How long before this quota is eaten away as the need for money overcomes, just as it has in Australia? How can they guarantee that our system will be any different? A new government, a new fee increase, the introduction of differential fees, and now a cut in subsidised places for the poorer students are reality in Australia. The system has not worked there and it will no t work here either. Introducing tuition fees will not solve the financial crisis in our universities and, if Australia is to be our example, it is clearly a strategy to avoid.

Douglas Trainer, president National Union of Students

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