MINUTES of a MEETING OF THE Ancillary Student Fees and Charges by sofiaie

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									     MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ANCILLARY STUDENT FEES AND CHARGES
                                              RD
           REGULATING COMMITTEE – MONDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2009


PRESENT
Mr Peter Curtis (Registrar) - Convenor
Mr Dominic Rose (President, Guild of Undergraduates)
Mrs Sue Smurthwaite (Associate Director, Education Policy Services)

BY INVITATION
Dr Martyn Churcher (Student Centre Manager)
Ms Emma Greeney (President Elect – Guild of Undergraduates)

APOLOGIES
Dr Brenton Knott (Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences)
Ms Keelia Fitzpatrick (President, Guild Education Council)
Ms Claudia Henfrey (President Elect, Guild Education Council)

Ms Caroline Mitchell – Executive Officer



1.   AMENDMENT BY DEEWR OF REGULATIONS REGARDING DEPOSITS – REF:
     F10172

DEEWR had amended its advice regarding the levying of bonds and deposits, the updated
regulation being that “bonds and deposits, whether refundable or not, are not allowed under
these guidelines on the basis that HELP ensures that there are no financial barriers for entry
to higher education for those students unable to pay upfront for the cost of their tuition”. The
current UWA guidelines stated that only “non-refundable bonds and non-refundable
deposits” were disallowed.
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Members noted that Deans of Faculty had been advised on 11 September 2009 (Attachment
A of the agenda) that the UWA Guidelines would be amended to reflect this change with
                      st
effect from January 1 2010 and asked that their Faculty Reference Groups consider the
ramifications of the amendment and reflect any consequent changes in their annual Faculty
submission to the Regulating Committee.


2.   CONSTITUTION AND MEMBERSHIP – REF: F9406

During late 2009 the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) had resigned as Chair of
the Committee and the Registrar had agreed to undertake this role. As such a proposed
amendment to the Committee's constitution and membership was attached to the agenda
(Attachment B) for endorsement. A brief discussion took place and it was

RESOLVED – 1

to accept the proposed amendment, as attached to the agenda, to the Constitution and
Membership of the Ancillary Student Fees and Charges Regulating Committee.


3.   GUIDELINES ON ANCILLARY STUDENT FEES AND CHARGES – REF: F10172

The Chair informed the Committee that the University's current Guidelines on Ancillary
Student Fees and Charges (refer
http://www.teachingandlearning.uwa.edu.au/studentnet/fees) would be reformatted during
2010 to align with the University's formal policy requirements (refer
http://www.universitypolicies.uwa.edu.au/). The opportunity would also be taken to review the
Committee's role in light of the policy and associated procedures to ensure efficient policy
management and improved dissemination of information to students. Any recommendations
would be referred to the Committee in due course.


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This item was noted for information.


4.   ANCILLARY STUDENT FEES AND CHARGES – REF: F10172

Members had before them Faculty submissions for ancillary fees, being new fees and
charges proposed for 2010, minor amendments to existing fees and charges, and fees levied
in 2009.

The Committee considered each Faculty submission in turn, as follows:

A.   Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts

New Fees
There were no proposed new fees.

Existing Fees
Submission endorsed.

B.   Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

New Fee
The School of Social and Cultural Studies had proposed the introduction of a fee for
vaccinations that were required for compulsory placements, the full cost of the vaccination to
be refunded by the School on presentation of the vaccination certificate and receipt from the
issuing medical centre. A member was concerned that some students might not be able to
afford this upfront fee. It was however decided that the usual channels of assistance for
students who can demonstrate financial hardship would be available and as such the
proposal was approved.

Existing Fees
It was noted that the School of Social and Cultural Studies had retained the refundable
deposit for key(s) to laboratories required by Honours and Postgraduate students for after
hours access. From January 2010 the UWA guidelines will be brought into line with DEEWR
regulations and will state that “bonds and deposits, whether refundable or not, are not
allowed” (refer Item 1). It was agreed that the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and
Social Sciences would be reminded of this amendment and advised that the fee would not be
acceptable from 2010. The Dean would be advised, however, that an alternative option would
be to levy a reasonable replacement charge for the loss or damage of a borrowed key.

Submission endorsed with exception of the item noted above.

C.   Business School

New Fees
There were no proposed new fees.

Existing Fees
Submission endorsed.

D.   Faculty of Education

New Fees
There were no proposed new fees.

Existing Fees
It was noted that the fee for the rural field trip for students enrolled in unit EDUC8416 would
increase by 15.3% in 2010 which was substantially higher than C.P.I.. A member suggested
that faculties should be asked to explain such significant increases. It was agreed that when
the guidelines and procedures were reviewed by Education Policy Services in 2010 (refer
Item 3) this stipulation would be included.



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Submission endorsed.

E.   Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

New Fees
There were no proposed new fees.

Existing Fees
The Committee discussed the charges that were levied by the School of Environmental
Systems Engineering for the compulsory field trip undertaken by students in ENVE2601.
Students were charged $30 for the trip, this charge being a contribution to boat and bus hire,
food and miscellaneous items. Students were not given the option of providing their own food
or their own transport between the 2 locations on the Swan river. Whilst the Committee
agreed that this charge was a minor contravention of the Guidelines it also concurred on the
following points; the students may have been disadvantaged if the trip had not taken place,
and it appeared that the costs had been kept at a reasonable level. In the letter to the Dean
in respect of Ancillary Student Fees and Charges in 2010 it would be noted
that students had been incorrectly charged but in this instance it would not be suggested that
the students be refunded. The Faculty would be reminded of the correct practice with regards
to the charging of fees for field trips.

Submission endorsed with the proviso listed above.

F.   Law

New Fees
There were no proposed new fees.

Existing Fees
There are no existing fees.

Submission endorsed.

G.   Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences

New Fees
School of Anatomy and Human Biology
The School gave the justification for the charging of a new fee of “10c per page for B&W
printing” that it was at “cost recovery level”. A member pointed out that the correct
justification for such a charge can only be that it forms a non essential part of the course and
it was agreed that the Faculty would need to clarify that this was the case prior to the approval
of this fee. The Committee agreed that the justification for the charging of $10 for a Primate
CD by the school was acceptable because in this instance the School had advised that free
alternative access was available in the class and resource centre and it would be a non-
essential component of the course.

The Committee then turned its attention to the proposal by the School for the charging of a
$100 refundable deposit and $55 hire fee per semester of a half skeleton. The Committee did
not approve the $100 refundable deposit because bonds and deposits are not allowable in
any circumstances (refer Item 1). The Committee next considered whether the hire charge
was allowable. A member pointed out that a precedent existed in that music students were
charged a „hire fee‟ for musical instruments where they are a non-essential component of the
course. The principle of a hire fee was therefore accepted as allowable charge, however it
was unclear from the submission how the sum of $55 was derived. It was agreed that the
E.O. request further information bearing in mind that faculties should not be making a profit
from students.

With regard to the proposal for the charging of $2 for the use of a lab coat in the School of
Anatomy and Human Biology it was established that students in that School could be
expected to provide their own lab coats on the basis that such an item would have value in
use after graduation. With this principle confirmed it was agreed that it was reasonable for
the School to charge the cost of laundering a lab coat ($2) should a student choose to borrow
one.


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School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences
The School proposed a new fee for the purchase of an Otoscope by audiology students. Two
justifications were given, firstly that it is a „tool of the trade‟ and secondly that it is required for
their clinical placements. The Committee accepted the first argument, ie. that the item would
have value in use after graduation and therefore endorsed the fee. Items required for clinical
placements would normally be a cost borne by the Schools.

Existing Fees
No submission listing the fees and charges actually levied by the Faculty in 2009 had been
received by the E.O. It was agreed the submission should still be sought and that the Dean
of Faculty would be reminded of the importance of compliance with HESA regulations. [E.O.
note: This information has now been received and fees levied in 2009 were in accordance
with approved charges. There were no amendments.]

H.   Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Health Sciences

New Fees
School of Surgery
The Committee considered two new fee proposals from the School of Surgery, firstly the
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charging 4 year Podiatric medicine students for the renewal of a CPR qualification and
secondly charges for travel, accommodation and living expenses for non compulsory
placements in rural/interstate locations and overseas locations. The Committee was satisfied
that both proposed new fees were in accordance with the guidelines.

School of Dentistry
As a result of the change of policy by DEEWR on the charging of bonds and deposits (refer
Item 1) the School of Dentistry had acknowledged that the levying of refundable a bond for
dental equipment taken home by students would no longer be allowable from January 2010.
The School therefore proposed charging students for dental equipment that is lost, damaged
or not returned at the end of the year (bearing in mind depreciation). The Committee agreed
that a reasonable replacement charge, bearing in mind mitigating circumstances and
depreciation, could be levied on a student in such a circumstance on the basis that it could be
classed as a „penalty‟. Under DEEWR and UWA guidelines a fine or penalty may be levied
“principally as a disincentive and not in order to raise revenue or cover administrative costs”.

The Chair confirmed that, in the event that a student failed to pay the agreed replacement or
repair charge for lost or damaged dental items, this would constitute a contravention of the
“Regulations for Student Conduct and Discipline”. Under these regulations a student could,
technically, be prohibited from re-enrolling, being informed of results, granted credit for a
course or unit or graduating. It was anticipated by the Committee however that the School
would handle any non payment of a replacement item with sensitivity in order that the penalty
should not escalate.

School of Population Health
This School proposed two new charges. The Committee endorsed the proposal for the
charging of a „recommended‟ influenza injection for Master of Nursing Science students.
However the Committee rejected the proposal to charge for a penlight torch as the
justification for this was on the basis that it is “required for clinical skill lab activity” thus
indicating that it is an essential item required for the course.

Existing Fees
It was noted that a number of fees charged in 2009 were above the approved level. The E.O.
confirmed that, when the guidelines and procedures were revised in 2010 (refer Item 3), it
would be made clearer to the faculties that the responsibility lies with them to update the
approved charge for the following year. A member noted that students in the School of
Surgery might find the charges for registration with the WA Physio Board slightly confusing
given that local students were charged more than international students. The Faculty had
advised that the reason for this was that local students would already be practising in WA and
therefore have to pay a full year‟s fee whereas international students only had to pay for 6
months registration. This would be clarified on the schedule.

Submission endorsed.


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I.   Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

New Fees
There were no proposed new fees

Existing Fees
The Committee noted the proposal to increase the approved charges for 2010 for some field
trips in the School of Earth and Environment (6% and 14%). The Committee further noted
that some field trips in the School of Plant Biology were set to increase by as much as 42% in
2010 (up from $35 to $50 per night). It was agreed that the School should be requested to
keep costs as low as practicable and that such large increases should be avoided where
possible.

Submission endorsed with the proviso listed above.

Anecdotal evidence was provided that several students in the Faculty of Natural and
Agricultural Sciences were dissatisfied that some units consisted almost entirely of a field trip
(for which they were charged the approved ancillary fee) with minimal, if any other teaching.
These students had questioned with the Student Guild what their HECS contributions were, in
fact, paying for. The Committee recognised that this was not essentially an Ancillary Fee
matter but agreed that these comments should be passed on to the Dean. The Committee
further recognised that field trips represent an extremely valuable component of a course, that
in most instances they are a minor auxiliary cost and that the Committee has no desire to put
field trips at risk. A member noted that early advice from Schools on the costs associated
with field trips could help alleviate the financial burden on students.


5.   ANY OTHER BUSINESS

A member raised an issue regarding the charging of ancillary fees to international students.
There was a perception by some international students that “full fee paying” meant that all
charges were included in the cost of the course. However overseas students were liable for
the same approved ancillary charges as domestic students – „full fee‟ was intended to cover
tuition only and not incidental costs. It was agreed that a letter from the Chair of the
Committee should be sent to the International Centre clarifying this situation and asking that
international students be made aware that they may incur ancillary fees.

Discussion took place on the best methods for improving dissemination of ancillary fee
information to all students. Suggestions included adding the information to all unit outlines
and linking direct from faculty sites to schedules of approved ancillary fees and charges. It
was noted that Education Policy Services would investigate this further during 2010. The
Guild representatives would also look at including facts on ancillary fees in information
packages handed out to newly enrolling students




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