The incoherent policies of the National Union of Students

The National Union of Students rallied today for its usual assortment of not entirely coherent causes:

Remove Full Fee entry places,
Reduce exorbitant HECS increases,
Relieve student poverty and
Repeal VSU

That’s right, students should not be allowed to pay for their tuition (remove full-fee places) or should pay less (reduce HECS), but they should be required to pay for services they do not want, such as political rallies attracting a few hundred people (repeal VSU).

I’m not sure that NUS fully understands the implications of their no full-fee places policy. When they used an AFR story earlier in the week about increasing numbers of full-fee students to call for the phasing out full-fee places, they probably did not realise that many of those places were at private higher education providers, dozens of which since 2005 have acquired access to the FEE-HELP income-contingent loan scheme. So does NUS now agree that private higher education should be funded the same way as public higher education? Their comrades at the Australian Education Union might have something to say about the precedent that would set.

NUS may find that rather more students are showing an interest in full-fee place than show an interest in NUS (the media has been slack on this one – NUS claims to represent students, but how many students have voluntarily joined a student union?). Continue reading “The incoherent policies of the National Union of Students”