Students from the Open University of Hong Kong (Open U) began collecting signatures yesterday to protest against rising tuition fees.
The university plans on charging its students more in the upcoming school year. Tuition fees for a full-time degree programme most popular among secondary school graduates will go up by 5 per cent. Fees for Nursing and Health Studies programmes will go up by 10 per cent. Distance learning programmes will increase by 3.5 per cent.
Open U's student union is aware that, as a self-financed school, the university relies on school fees for its daily operations. But the school has already increased fees in the past two years, so continuing to do so for three more years will greatly add to the financial burden on students. What's more, the union says that according to the school's financial report, it has recorded a surplus in the past few years, and so it should keep charges at its current level.
The current annual charge for a Nursing and Health Studies programme is HK$56,600. The university said there is a need to employ more teachers in the Nursing and Health Studies division, and the tuition fees for that programme will go up by as much as 30 per cent in the next three years.
Students said they are disappointed by the university's decision and will continue to urge school authorities to reconsider raising fees. Also, they will monitor the use of school funds to ensure the money is spent on enhancing the learning environment for students.