Higher fees means higher fees. That’s it

No amount of spin or obfuscation by Christopher Pyne can hide the fact that higher fees means higher fees, Shadow Higher Education Minister Kim Carr warned today.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence was reported this morning as saying that under deregulation disadvantaged students would actually have more support than they have at present, because the number of scholarships would increase.

“That is preposterous,” Senator Carr said. “If unrestrained student fees are so fair, why would there be a need for scholarships to address the unfair impact on many students?”

“Under deregulation there is a real prospect that wealthy Group of Eight universities could quickly amass multimillion dollar funds derived from higher tuition fees and crippling student debt.”

“Several regional vice-chancellors told the Senate’s higher education inquiry that those funds would be used to poach students from other universities,” Senator Carr said.

“It is a recipe for elitism because the market power of elite institutions would be entrenched.”

Senator Carr said that access to the wealthy, established universities would become more and more restricted if Pyne’s plan to Americanise Australia’s higher education system was implemented.

“The average income of the parents of Harvard students is $450,000”, he said. “Is that the model we want the Group of Eight universities to follow?”

“Professor Spence’s remarks highlight a fundamental inequity of the Abbott Government’s proposed higher education changes.”

“The Government will force universities to impose additional fees on all students not only to fund so-called scholarships, but also to fund their research programs and make up for massive cuts.”

Senator Carr noted that modelling by the National Tertiary Education Union has revealed that under deregulation the University of Sydney might have to charge average fees of $20,600 if it is to deliver on Professor Spence’s claims.

“The reality is simple and inescapable: higher fees means higher fees.”


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