There has been some talk recently about rising college fees but is this the case? The issue was brought to the attention of Nucleus. I decided to take a look into it myself. Excited with the prospect of engaging in some investigative journalism I set out. First stop the Head of College*. They seemed to have known this might come up and quickly pulled out some sheets to compare the prices for last year and this year. The price was going up! They told me it was a rise in CPI that affected properties across Australia. High school economics came in handy as I racked my brains, Consumer Price Index, how much average prices rise every year. That should be around 5% like inflation. I could tell the actual rise was more.
Next stop was the Head of Residential services. I had crunched the numbers and compared it to CPI. It was going up even with CPI factored in. So what did they have to say?
To be succinct the fees are actually rising in real terms. The change in price is from a couple of different sources.
• The first happens every year and is due to inflation. As the cost of everything rises so does rent. The government sets an acceptable level in line with the Consumer Price Index at which rents should increase. Every year the college fees increase by this much, about 5%. So does everything else including many Centrelink benefits.
• The other cause for the increase is the inclusion of previously annual communication and maintenance fees in weekly rates.
• At Wright Village where the increase seemed greatest it was still due to streamlining of fees. They also included utilities in the weekly charge, as happens at every other college.
• For Medical students, who are on a semester calendar and stay at college longer, the fees have been adjusted so that they are still paying that same contribution to the communication and maintenance fees.
In summary, much of the apparent rise in excess of the annual increase of CPI was the inclusion of previously one-off annual fees in weekly rates, in addition to the annual increase in CPI, which could even make it easier for students to pay since they no longer have a large fee at the beginning of the year.
* You’ll have to guess which…