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ANU tries to reduce number of older students in residential colleges while increasing prices

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Students say they are "shocked" by "sweeping changes" to ANU residential colleges that will push up accommodation costs and limit "returnees" in favour of more space for new undergraduate students, laid out in a letter to the ANU Students' Association.

Under the changes, endorsed by the university's senior managers' group, fees for self-catered colleges would rise by 7 per cent, and catered would increase by 5 per cent next year.

A new centralised application system will also be introduced for incoming students.

The number of students in their second or more year at the dorms are to be reduced so they make up 67 per cent in 2015 down from 72 per cent this year.

The deadline for the guarantee for accommodation will also be extended from November to January next year.

In an emergency meeting, the ANU Interhall Council, which represents the university's residences, endorsed a boycott of the ANU open day on Saturday in protest, saying it was not consulted on the move.


ANU student and UniLodge residents' committee president Samuel Guthrie said centralising the intake system would change the personalities of ANU residences.

"People who simply ticked the boxes and hit submit would be chosen ahead of other people who are genuinely interested in giving to the community," Mr Guthrie said.

A statement from the Interhall Council warned "cultures developed over the history of our university may simply be wound up over the course of a few short years".

ANU deputy vice-chancellor Marnie Hughes-Warrington responded to students in writing. She confirmed the changes and said a more "streamlined and transparent" application process would "add value" for prospective students.

She said building maintenance requirements and the need to keep pace with CPI were behind the fee increases. 

Professor Hughes-Warrington said a "strategic approach to the planning of the future development of the residential communities" was required.

She added that, currently, the availability of beds substantially favoured undergraduate returners over the new intake.

Mr Guthrie said the Interhall Council did not disagree with all the changes, saying it was pleased by the notion of extending the deadline of the guarantee.

Evening meetings will continue this week at ANU colleges to discuss the changes before Saturday's boycott.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly read: 'A new centralised application system will also be introduced, in order to reduce the number of students in their second or more year at the dorms – so eventually they only make up half of residents at the colleges'.