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$100,000 university degrees not too far away

Australian Catholic University

The NTEU says that if the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, caves into the demands of Group of Eight and some other university Vice-Chancellors and lifts the existing caps on fees charged to government supported university students, then days of $100,000 university degree will not be far off.

According to a report in today’s Australian by Andrew Trounson one of the authors of Demand Driven Funding Review, Andrew Norton, is concerned that the removal of the price gap could result in excessive fee hikes.

“It is interesting that one of the strongest supporters of deregulation of higher education, Mr Andrew Norton, is cautioning against removing the current price caps on government supported university places,”  Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President said.

“Norton is rightly concerned about the impact higher fees will have on the financial viability the Higher Education Loans Program  (HELP). However, this doesn’t even begin to address the impact it will have on students and their families.”

“As an alternative to capping fees, Norton is suggesting that the Commonwealth might consider imposing a limit on the amount government supported students could borrow through HECS-HELP.”

“If the Government were to impose the same limit as that which currently applies to FEE-HELP (up to $120,000), then Australian government supported students could expect to pay around $100,000 for a degree at some universities.

“As the NTEU has said from the start, it will be students who will bear the cost of the Government’s ideological obsession and blind faith in a market based policy framework for higher education. Removing the cap on fees, even with a cap in HELP borrowing would simply increase the magnitude of that cost.”

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