- Sam Oldham
It is no secret that tertiary students in New Zealand are financially burdened. After the educational reforms of the 90s, the average student is today shackled by a lifetime of debt, only exacerbated by rising food and petrol prices and the rising cost of rent.
However, there is another threat to the welfare of many students that is not often addressed - the corporate ownership and profit from student hostels at many universities.
The hostel, or hall of residence, is the popular choice of most first-year tertiary students around the country when deciding where to live as they venture to new cities to engage in full-time study. These hostels, although coordinated by the universities, are most often under private ownership, usually by large domestic companies or multi-national corporations.
Victoria University of Wellington offers four major halls of residence to its prospective first-year students, and a number of minor hostels. Of these, only two are owned directly by Victoria University, the others by private enterprise. So the profit of only two halls is reinvested in students, the rest going straight to the private sector.