The Deal That Locked Kids Out Of UniNewsletter
As a parent and former teacher, I know that the value of a great education. It is a ticket to opportunity for our children – the next generation of Australian thinkers and creators.
But I’m sad to say our Higher Education sector is at risk.
Education is one of Australia’s greatest exports. The loss of international students, coupled with the blow to providers being ruled ineligible by the Government for JobKeeper, is expected to result in the loss of 30,000 jobs in the tertiary sector.
That loss is unfathomable and could have been prevented.
An investment in our university sector is a down payment on our future.
However, it seems the Morrison-McCormack Government doesn’t share this vision. Instead, it has passed a Bill that will take us one step closer to an American-style fee structure.
But how did we get here?
In 2017, universities were slapped with capped student places and frozen indexation for subsidies. The Government had hoped the freeze would result in a savings of $2 billion. Reports from earlier this year suggest the freeze saved less than $100 million.
That is why there was a real urgency to get this Bill signed, by the Government and the sector. Last month the Saturday Paper reported some Vice-Chancellors feared if this package did not become law the sector would head into 2021 with the same funding uncertainty.
Another cheap tactic to force the sector into bending to the Government’s will.
The Education Minister, Dan Tehan, claims a key purpose of this Bill is to redirect support to regional universities. It sounds like a win for providers, like Deakin in Corangamite – right?
Well, no. It’s still unclear how the redirection of funds to regional universities would operate in practice, or if they would be better off under the package than they currently are.
It’s just another way for the Government to pit the regions against the cities. To be honest, it’s cheap politicking.
The Morrison-McCormack Government have subtitled this Bill the “Job-Ready Graduates Program” – as if the only jobs that matter are the jobs in science and math.
Humanities courses will rise on average 113 per cent. Law and Economics students face a 28 per cent increase.
This policy also reduces the overall Government contribution from 58 per cent to 42 per cent. Student contributions will lift to 48 per cent.
It’s expected an average female student contribution’s fees will increase by 10 per cent, while Indigenous student contributions will rise to 15 per cent.
It’s clear the Government is looking at this through a narrow lens. Humanities graduates have early-career employment outcomes similar to maths and science graduates, as well as positive long-term earnings.
The top three degrees among both major parties are Law, Arts, and Economics.
A deal with South Australia’s Centre Alliance handed the Government the final vote they needed to pass this legislation in the Senate. Unfortunately, this week in parliament, the legislation passed in the House.
Labor will continue the fight and will not let the Government continue in its pursuit of Americanising our higher education sector.
Nobody should be financially punished for pursuing an education in the field of their choice.
This story was originally published in Libby's October Newsletter. Please click here to subscribe to the email newsletter.Share Tweet