Compulsory OUSA's income hiked 9% to $1.2 million
While the Otago University Students Association (OUSA) criticised Otago University for increasing its fees, the compulsory association's own income is budgeted to rise 9 percent to $1.2 million in 2004, Student Choice said.
OUSA's ratified budget for 2004 shows that OUSA's income from compulsory membership will rise from $1,118,082 this year to $1,216,000 next year, a 9 percent increase of $98,000. OUSA say the increase is a result of growth in student numbers.
Every Otago student is forced to pay a membership levy to OUSA. Under compulsory membership an increase in the number of students automatically means increased revenue for the association.
Student Choice says this is another example of how compulsory associations are not subject to normal commercial pressures. Compulsory membership, OUSA's monopoly status and the absence of a price mechanism means the association receives income regardless of how it performs and benefits from increased enrolments it has not helped generate.
Compulsory membership is virtually a licence to print money for associations. If OUSA was like other incorporated societies it would have to prove its value to students and sell membership at a market price.
Student Choice said OUSA's surplus of $330,000 in 2002 showed that the 9 percent increase was additional overcharging by an organisation that was already taking too much money from students.
Student politicians who complain about increases in tuition fees have no credibility when they support the imposition of unnecessary and excessive costs on students.