The Senate has passed a new bill which will change the price of degrees at university.
The Senate has passed a new bill which will change the price of degrees at university.

‘Big change’ coming for university fees

THE SENATE has passed new laws which will see the cost of some university degrees change markedly.

The price change is due to the change in government funding for different types of degrees as it tries to create more graduates in areas with a skill shortage.

Under the bill, courses such as humanities will see a price rise while degrees like science will receive a funding cut and see overall government contribution move from 58 per cent to 52 per cent.

Vice President of Engagement at Southern Cross University Ben Roche described the legislation as a big change.

“The big change that universities will have to grapple with is the funding changes in a range of courses, what the Government have done is very clearly say ‘we want to align and incentivise those courses that in the courses a very clear jobs out come’.

“To do that they’re providing full level support for some courses, agriculture is an example of that, but there are courses that the government is effectively saying do not have as clearer jobs outcomes and in those areas the government is reducing their funding and therefore going to create a larger obligation on students to fund those courses.”

Mr Roche said the situation would need to be monitored as price should not determine a potential student’s degree choice.

“We’ll just have to monitor and make sure that there is a very strong process of review so that we don’t have significant amount of unintended consequences as a result of legislation that prioritises prices as a major decision-making factor for students.”

Mr Roche said he understood the Government’s intention behind the legislation but that there was a need to ensure balance in university offerings.

“I understand and support that government wants to bring universities and the education system more broadly closer to the needs of industry so that we can maximise as much jobs growth and economic growth over the years ahead.”

“The issue is that the ways that we generate those jobs outcomes are not always clear to us, there are many career pathways that are still emerging … what we need to make sure is that universities are not just seen as a function of the labour market and the economy.”