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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Student Union Fees

I'm in a bit of a quandary over this one. When I went to uni in England nigh on 15 years ago I had to join the student union if I wanted to use the union facilities. Fair enough as the beer was very very cheap, and the facilities were excellent. Also fair enough was that it cost five pounds per year so it was the equivalent of joining an RSL, just less pokies and B grade singers. I even got expenses back for running as Pestilence on the Four horsemen of the apocalypse ticket come uni politics time (jees, students are just soooo funny). I was doing some part time postgrad stuff recently and the fee was $400 per annum and I didn't use the bar once. Even ALP membership costs only $200 per year. So I have to kind of think that I am being ripped off a bit. Why are the fees so expensive? Is there a difference between funding models for SUs here to the UK, are or the expenditures more extravagant? On the other hand I am against the user pays way of doing things so the fees may be a good thing. And if it wasn't compulsory, either fees or the cost of services would have to rise, perhaps being prohibitive to people who can't afford to pay full whack. But $400! Or was I being fleeced because I was a post grad, in that case fair enough. Maybe I am becoming a cantankerous old tory (why should I pay for bludgers etc). But four hundred bucks! Would non-compulsory union membership result in a maelstrom of putrid decay? Could it be offset by higher pay as you go fees for non members? Help me out people, tell me why I paid at most $50 per year for better services all those years ago, but now I pay $400 for a rowing club. Maybe that's the reason. Pommies are beery lazy bastards and amateurs at sport compared to Strayans, and so whereas I subsidised a few pints of Tetley years ago, now I subsidise a few professional sports psychologists. Still, the rowing club has a nice view I suppose.


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