You may or may not have noticed the passage in the final week of sitting of the Federal Government’s Voluntary Student Unionism bill. They got it through the Senate without the help of everyone’s favourite senator, Barnaby Joyce, because Family First’s Steve Fielding got on board.
Today I received an email (below) from the Australian National University telling me just how ANU’s going to deal with VSU — from an adminstrative point of view at least.
Interestingly, it appears the uni runs the medical, counselling, childcare, indigenous, disability and international student services, which will continue to operate even after 1 July 2006. At the University of Canberra, from which I am yet to receive a similar email, the Student Association was saying they ran all these kinds of services and so they would most likely stop. It will be interesting, if this is indeed the case, to see how this difference between the universities and their service provision affects enrolments, if at all.
Subject: [Students.all] Voluntary Student Unionism – What does it mean foryou?
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2005 10:30:18 +1100
If you have been following the debate about Voluntary Student Unionism you will know that legislation has recently been passed to prevent universities from charging students fees for services of a non-academic nature from 1 July 2006. At the ANU, these fees are known as General Services Fees or GSF.
GSF collected by ANU are distributed primarily through the undergraduate and postgraduate student associations (ANUSA and PARSA respectively), the Sport and Recreation Association (ANUSRA) and the Student Union. These organizations provide a range of services including sporting facilities, recreational and entertainment opportunities, food and beverage services, information, legal service, advocacy, financial advisory assistance and emergency grants. GSF has allowed those services to be provided at reduced cost or free of charge to students.
Other University services, such as medical, counselling, childcare, indigenous, disability and international student services have been provided by the University and therefore are unaffected by this legislation; they will continue to be provided.
To comply with the new legislation, The ANU will do the following in 2006:
1. If you are a new student (undergraduate, postgraduate and research) commencing your studies before 1 July 2006, you will be charged GSF of $120.
2. If you are a continuing student returning to study before 1 July 2006 (undergraduate, postgraduate and research), you will be charged GSF of $120.
3. All new and continuing students who commence or continue their studies after 1 July 2006 will not be charged a GSF.
4. If you have already paid a full year’s GSF ($240) for 2006, you will receive a refund of $120.
We are still looking at our options for continuing the services and facilities affected by the legislation and will keep you up to date on progress.
ANU is proud of the fact that it offers exceptional education to its students but it recognizes that support services and provision of wider social and personal opportunities are critical for many students to be able to maximise their experience at ANU. The University will make every effort to ensure that goal is not compromised.
Director, Student and Academic Services
Director, Student Recruitment and International Education