DISABLED and disadvantaged university students in Albury-Wodonga would suffer if the Abbott government went ahead and abolished compulsory union fees, it was claimed yesterday.
Student association representatives from Charles Sturt and La Trobe universities said the fees were important for the support of students.
In Wodonga, La Trobe student association president Rakan “Rocky” Hellway said it was not a good idea to scrap the fees because it disadvantaged students.
“These fees allow us to support disabled students and the welfare of others,” he said.
“These amenity fees can support them maybe with extra ramps around campus which allows them to get the same equity.”
Axing of the compulsory fee collected by universities to support student services was announced by Education Minister Christopher Pyne — and he will scrap Labor’s targets to lift participation by disadvantaged students.
Mr Hellway said there was a chance students would lack motivation to create ideas.
“By students paying fees they have expectations and they bring ideas,” he said.
“They see their ideas come into play because the uni has money for that.”
Charles Sturt Albury-Wodonga student association president Tom Madden said three services were supported by the fee.
“I’m not very happy as the fee is used to provide essential services,” he said.
“It improves existing services, provides improvements physically and virtually and looks at enhancing new services.”
Mr Madden said it would create a “brick wall” in the way of progress.
He said regional universities would be affected more than ones in metropolitan areas.
“Regional areas have to spend more money on facilities that are more easily accessible to people who are living in highly populated areas,” he said.
Mr Hellway said even though it would be saving university students from paying a small cost, they would be missing out on the benefits.
The two students agreed it would be hard for the universities to move forward in terms of services offered.