RMIT fees to rise
By Sean Healy
MELBOURNE — As is appropriate for a university that has just appointed smallgoods king Sam Smorgon its new chancellor, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is leading the way on becoming a business-driven "university of the future". RMIT has for years boasted its strong links to big business. Now it can boast being at the forefront of the introduction of up-front tertiary fees.
A study by the Tasmanian University Postgraduate Association (TUPA) undertaken in September 1994 reveals that, of the six Victorian universities, four (Monash, Melbourne, Latrobe and Victorian University of Technology) are planning to introduce fee-paying courses for postgraduates in 1995. Melbourne University alone plans to have 70 fee-paying courses by the end of 1995. Neither Deakin University nor RMIT responded to TUPA's questionnaire.
However, a report from RMIT's Resources Planning Group projects the 1995 government operating grant as $8 million down on last year's level, from $169 million to $161 million.
To make up the shortfall, returns from full fee-paying overseas students are expected to rise from $20 million in 1994 to $27 million. Most staggering is the expected increase in revenue from fees-approved postgraduate courses. In 1994, RMIT had budgeted this revenue at a mere $214,605, slightly more than 1% of total revenue. In 1995, the budgeted income from postgraduates is $3,162,061, an increase of 15 times!
This revenue shift, whereby federal government funding cuts are being overcome by slugging postgraduates for fees, is a central aspect of the federal government's higher education funding strategy.