USP TO INCREASE STUDENT FEES TO GENERATE CAMPUS INCOME

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By Talei Tora

SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 20, 2002 – Wansolwara Online-USP/Pasifik Nius)---University of the South Pacific students can expect an increase in fees over the next five years, Vice Chancellor Savenaca Siwatibau said today.

Engineering, accounting and information technology are among the high demand courses that will experience a fee hike soon.

In a press conference with Wansolwara Online today, Siwatibau said the fee increases were part of USP's measures to generate more income from within the university.

Internally generated income currently accounts for 30 percent of the USP budget, with the remaining 70 percent coming from member country contributions.

However, Siwatibau said the university will have to boost its internal sources of income, following overseas trends.

Social and economic problems in the region have also put the level of future funding from member governments in doubt.

The USP Council is particularly concerned about arrears amounting to several million dollars owed by the Solomon Islands and Nauru, Siwatibau said.

Arrears and income generation are among issues to be discussed at the upcoming USP Council meeting to be held in Niue next week.

The council will also revisit the academic staff salary review, which aims to make the university more attractive to top quality staff.

He said tertiary education was a competitive global business and "we have to be sure our quality is as good as any of our competitors.

"At the last council meeting it was found that our salaries are at 72 percent of our competitors, and the council agreed to increase this level to 82 percent."

At the upcoming meeting the university would have to persuade the member governments to absorb this salary increase, he said.

"Things are tight all around so it is a matter of balancing what is desirable for USP and what might be digestible for member countries."

The Vice Chancellor also discussed plans to host the South Pacific Games village next year.

A USP team is working out a commercial arrangement with the SPG organizing committee to ensure that all costs are covered by the games body.

This package is still under negotiation but is expected to include improvements to the water supply and other infrastructure.

Siwatibau said the infrastructure improvements and funding expected from the games village package was part of USP's attempt to improve internal income generation. 

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  Wansolwara Online (USP): http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/index.html  USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm  Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook 

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