Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to universities, of $3.8 billion over four years, will hit regional universities hard.
“Today I met with the Vice-Chancellor of Charles Sturt University (CSU), Professor Andrew Vann, to discuss the impact of the budget cuts and the Vice-Chancellor’s public comments, made yesterday,” Terri Butler said.
“Charles Sturt University is Australia’s largest rural and regional university, with a unique multi-campus footprint focused on delivering high quality education outcomes across rural and regional Australian communities.
“It is committed to ensuring rural and regional Australian students, including groups such as first in family, low-SES and Indigenous can go to university.
“Therefore, CSU has expressed public concern that the combination of efficiency dividend budget cuts and increased fees for students may have a negative impact on education access amongst various less-privileged student groups.
“Across the OECD, Australian students are already one of the highest contributors to the cost of their own university education.
“In terms of fairness and equity the budget cuts would be a detrimental outcome for rural and regional Australia,” Ms Butler said.
With rising cost pressures across the economy, adding further increases to student fees puts at risk ensuring people can access the education and training needed.
“Australians who already have mortgages will think twice before taking on increased student debt,” Ms Butler said. .
“The Government’s policy to increase fees and make changes to the re-payment rates will mean that students will pay more for less, and sooner.
“As Professor Vann outlined in The Australian yesterday, the government’s budget measures do not pass the pub test.
“The Turnbull government should reverse its cuts to higher education, drop its fee hikes for students, and drop its plans to reduce the HELP re-payment threshold.
“It’s time the government did the right thing by our economy, and by our community, by investing in higher education, not cutting it,” Terri Butler added.
WEDNESDAY, 31 MAY 2017