2007 – The Impact of VSU on Postgraduate Students

July 1st 2007 marks VSU “one-year-on”. CAPA has completed its survey: The Impact of VSU on Postgraduate Students. The final report is now available:

Key findings:

As of July 1, 2007 at least 8 universities no longer have an independent postgraduate student organisation. Of the 20 Postgraduate students associations that responded to CAPA’s 2007 questionnaire:

  • 8 are receiving less than 50% of their pre-VSU funding, including 4 that are receiving less than 5%.
  • While 70% have some funding support from their university, many have conditions attached including some that
    prevent the payment of honorariums and affiliation fees.
  • Staff numbers have been halved. 7 responding PGSAs have no staff at all.
  • 30% are unable to provide advocacy services.
  • Three have been forced into mergers with other student organisations, while others must cope with continued pressure to merge and greater university control.


It is difficult to know the full extent of the situation faced by the PGSAs that were unable to respond to the survey. It is clear however that in a number of cases where the CAPA VSU survey was not returned there was simply no one left who could. This reflects a situation on those campuses where the needs of postgraduates formerly catered for by postgraduate student organisations are now no longer being catered for at all. Postgraduate students are among those most disadvantaged by the impact of VSU.