A graduation balloon in front of RMIT’s City Campus. Photo: RMIT University on Facebook (Cropped).
RMIT has announced it will be waiving the $55 hard copy testamur fee for students graduating in absentia this year, according to a statement provided to The Swanston Gazette this week.
Due to COVID19 restrictions in Victoria, graduating in absentia is the only option for RMIT final-years in 2020 to receive their qualification.
The decision was "based on student feedback" and "in recognition of an extraordinary year", according to an RMIT spokesperson.
"Any student who has already paid for their testamur will receive a refund," the RMIT spokesperson said.
"Further details, including how to get a refund, will be sent to students early next week."
While there has been a waive in testamur fees, there continue to be no changes to the rest of the fees students currently pay, where RUSU has called for a 20% reduction.
In a statement, RMIT said, "rather than a direct reduction in student fees, we have reallocated resources toward our core purpose of learning, teaching and research".
Siri Smith, an RMIT journalism student, has been vocal regarding the issue of testamur fees on the popular student Facebook group, RMIT StalkerSpace.
Siri Smith’s post about the testamur fees. Screenshot obtained from the RMIT StalkerSpace Facebook Group.
Ms Smith said knowing this has been good news for her.
"Hearing that they're waiving the fee and have listened to our feedback is great," she said.
But she said there are still areas where RMIT is lacking, like listening to the voices of their students.
"I think what RMIT has been lacking this year is allowing the students to talk," she said.
Ms Smith said she would like to "see more surveys and options" to receive student feedback and for RMIT to consider having another ceremony in 2021 just for this year’s graduates.
"Maybe holding a separate graduation ceremony in Autumn next year for those having to graduate in absentia in 2020, instead of crowding the December 2021 ceremony," she said.
RUSU has recently held a 'Have Your Say Summit' for students to talk about student life at RMIT, but issues regarding final years were not in the focal point of discussion. The summit instead focussed on the topics of student-centred education, Iso life, future focus and support beyond the classroom.
More to come.