A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence for UNSW students

Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr and the Member for Kingsford Smith, Matt Thistlethwaite MP, will today visit the University of New South Wales and meet with students and staff to discuss concerns about the Abbott Government’s higher education changes.

UNSW is facing a $204.5 million cut in course and research funding in 2016-2019 as a result of the Abbott Government’s broken promises on no cuts to education.

Senator Carr said students faced a doubling and tripling of the cost of their degrees and long years of paying off massive HECS debts because of the cuts, fee deregulation and higher compound interest on student loans.

“The prospect of $100,000 degrees under the Abbott Government’s Americanised system would be a disaster for students, particularly those from low- and middle-income families, rural and regional areas and women,” Senator Carr said.

“Labor believes it is the Government’s responsibility to fund higher education and research properly – not students who already pay among the highest fees in the OECD.

“This is not Labor’s way and we will fight the unfair and immoral Abbott-Pyne plan. A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence.”

Mr Thistlethwaite said Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne had repeatedly promised there would be no cuts to education.

“I want to give people this absolute assurance, no cuts to education …”

TONY ABBOTT – INSIDERS – 1 SEPTEMBER 2013

“Students have every right to feel betrayed by these broken promises.

“I will be at the UNSW to let students and staff know that Labor stands with them in fighting against these unfair changes.

“Labor will hold the government to those promises and will fight against a degree becoming a debt sentence for young Australians.

“I urge people to join the more than 42,000 people who have signed Labor’s online petition against the Abbott Government’s radical and unfair higher education package.”

The Abbott Government’s Budget cut of $5.8 billion from higher education and its changes are triple-hit to students:

  • Cutting funding for undergraduate places by up to 37 per cent;
  • Deregulating fee levels, allowing universities to charge what they like; and
  • Introducing a compounding real interest rate of up to 6 per cent for all HECS-HELP debts – future and existing.

As a result of a vote by Labor and the cross-benchers in the Senate, the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014 will go to a Senate inquiry this month, providing the first opportunity for the Parliament to consider the Abbott Government’s proposals in detail.

Labor encourages all interested parties to make their voices heard by making a submission to the inquiry eec.sen@aph.gov.au by 22 September. 

THURSDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER 2014

 


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