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Hands Off Our Education

Hands Off Our Education

In September 2020, the senate passed the Jobs Ready legislation, significantly changing the way Australians will access university education. With these laws in place, university fees for many will be hiked up, funding for universities will be slashed, and access to the HECS/HELP loan scheme will be ripped away from students who fail too many units. A devastating blow to the integrity of our higher education sector.

We would like to thank the students, staff and community members who joined us in pushing back against these harmful changes over the last few months. From signing the petition, rallying in opposition, and contacting your local MP to make your voice heard: your involvement contributed to a national movement of students standing up for our right to an accessible education. 

While we were not successful in preventing these changes, we must not and will not stop pushing back.

The Curtin Student Guild is committed to fighting for students right to a quality education. We will not stand idly while students are continuously let down, and we will continue to take hard stances against decisions that will jeopardise our education.

What are the proposed changes?

The Government contribution to degrees will decrease from 58% to 52%, with student contributions lifting from 42% to 48% to pay for more places without extra government funding. 

The cost of humanities and communications courses will more than double increasing by 113%  with a year of full-time study costing $14,500 from next year, up from $6,804. 

At $14,500, it would cost the student as much to obtain their humanities degree as it does to teach it.

A full three-year degree in these disciplines will cost students upwards of $43,500.

Law and commerce will increase 28 per cent to $14,500 a year, up from $11,155. 

Teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, English, languages, maths and agriculture courses will cost $3,700 a year, down by 46 to 62 per cent. 

Fees for science, health, architecture, environmental science, IT and engineering will drop 20 per cent, with a year of study costing $7,700.

Useful links:

(Above) Dese.gov.au. Some students may pay more for their degree than it costs to teach it.

Why are these changes taking place?

 To fund an extra 12,000 university places in 2021, 39,000 by 2023 and 100,000 by the end of the decade in response to surging demand for tertiary education.

Other initiatives announced by the government include boosting attainment for regional, low-income and Indigenous students as well as collaboration between universities and business.

What does it mean for me?

The quality of your education may suffer as total government funding for the higher education sector will DECREASE by almost 6% while the overall student contribution will increase by 6%. 

Universities will be paid less to teach many courses. This will impact current as well as future students.

The government has announced the new fee structure will apply to all students from 2024. You may still be studying then or embarking on a postgraduate course. Once introduced there are no guarantee the Government will not bring forward that timetable or make additional changes to the fee structure. 

If you change course you maybe be impacted by the new fee structure straight away.  

Universities paid less to teach many courses.

According to Education Department data (The Australian), universities will be paid less to teach courses such as maths, engineering, science, environmental science, nursing, teaching and  communications. (see above table) 

For example, universities currently receive $28,958 a year for each science course enrolment, made up of $19,260 paid by the student through the HECS-HELP loan scheme and $9,698 from the commonwealth. Under the new system students will contribute $7,700 and the commonwealth will pay $16,500, leaving universities with $4758 less revenue for each science student enrolled.
Universities will lose a similar amount for each student enrolled in an engineering course because while the commonwealth is increasing its payment per student from $24,446 to $27,000, that does not compensate for the fall in student contributions from $9,698 to $3,700.

When will the changes start?

The Government hopes to pass this legislation in 2020 and have the changes come into effect in 2021.

Will these changes impact international students?

The Government has not announced whether these changes will impact international student fee structure. 

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