'Significant’ rises in uni fees: NATSEM research

University fee increases are likely to be “significant”, and repayments for some degrees, such as science, will triple and take double the time to pay off, modelling by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra reveals in an article in The Conversation today.

NATSEM says “the impact will be felt most strongly for low-pay occupations such as nursing or education, and across the board the impacts are larger for females”.

A female science graduate could pay a total of $123,000 for a degree that now costs $44,200 – an increase of more than $78,000, NATSEM estimates. Repayment would increase from 8.4 years to 16.4 years.

Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr said the NATSEM results were further evidence that the Abbott Government’s higher education package was unfair and would lead Australia down the track of US-style debt.

“The Government has been thoroughly discredited in its efforts to disguise the fact that it is shifting a very large share of the cost of a university education on to students and their parents,” Senator Carr said.

“NATSEM shows that Mr Pyne’s claim of a ‘$5 per week’ increase for graduates is a fantasy.

“It also shows that women will be particularly hard hit, because their income is affected by motherhood, and they dominate in less well-paid occupations, such as nursing and teaching.”

Senator Carr said he was also concerned by the projected cost of science degrees, which NATSEM estimates could cost as much as $111,146 for a male and almost $123,000 for a female.

“This Government has absolutely no commitment to science,” Senator Carr said.

“Instead of investing in science and building the jobs of the future, we are being left high and dry by a Government which has no science minister, no science policy and unaffordable science degrees.

“This is a Government hell-bent on destroying the Australian dream of a fair go.”


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