SCU may raise fees

By ALEX EASTON

SOUTHERN Cross University will consider raising HECS fees next week against a backdrop of a $6 million deficit, ViceChancellor Paul Clark has said.

NSW Auditor-General Bob Sendt this week announced that Southern Cross University posted a loss of $5.84 million between 2003 and 2004.

Professor Clark said much of that loss could be chalked up to a change in Federal Government funding allocations, which pushed payments from one end of the financial year to the other.

However, a rise in maintenance costs for university buildings, and a steady bleed in the real value of Government spending on universities, had also contributed to the deficit.

Professor Clark said the uni- versity was continually looking for new ways to raise funds, such as the Cellulose Valley research program which generated about $10 million a year, and through full-fee courses such as its surfing course.

The other obvious way was to raise HECS fees.

The university rejected that option last year ? a move believed linked to higher admission figures this year; but Prof Clark said the University Council would look at the issue afresh next Friday.

Prof Clark would not speculate on the decision, but said that if fees were raised he would like any excess funds to be used to help students' costs, such as textbooks.



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