Today, DUSA President Tiarnan Cleary has given the following statement to the Geelong Advertiser:
“This morning Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, announced his proposal for a major restructure of university fees that is set to burden thousands of students with a fee hike of up to 113%.
As part of this announcement, some degrees will be subject to increases, more than double their current amount while others deemed worthy enough will receive fee reductions. This is a cruel attempt at shoehorning new students into industries that will supposedly lead to job growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has already had an immense impact on students across the country, and they will continue to struggle once the full force of this economic downturn hits.
Youth unemployment has skyrocketed to 16% as of May 2020, and the number of students seeking an undergraduate place in 2021 is set to double. Forcing students to make a choice between a debt sentence straight out of high school or a degree that will appease the federal government’s fixation on short-term job creation and a performance-based model of educational provision is utterly shameful.
Fee increases such as these could also lead to decreased enrollment numbers in affected fields of study leading to further cuts of professional university staff in a time where we’ve already seen job security in the tertiary education sector is unstable.
Let’s not forget this same government cut university places in 2017 and removed $2.1 billion from the sector. Now they expect us to be grateful that a select few areas of study are being handed help. This is just another example of the disregard this government has for young Australians.
Instead of burdening students with the cost of this pandemic, this government needs to stand up and safeguard the future of tertiary learning in this country. DUSA condemns this announcement and will be fighting to defeat this proposal, as will many other student unions and peak representative bodies across the country.”