Turnbull Government Targets University Students Yet Again

Following the removal of the university fee cap a few months ago, the Turnbull government is now pushing to hike up the prices of university fees by 7.5 per cent. This is due to the result of Turnbull’s new higher education package which would additionally force the payment threshold to begin when debtors started earning at least $42,000 annually as opposed to the original $54,869 annually.

So what will this mean for students like us?

With scholarships to universities being extremely limited and selective, most of us will have to carry the burden upon ourselves, whether it be help from a close family member or friend, or a liquidisation of assets in order to payoff this debt, we’ll all have to sacrifice something of value. And with the government lowering the limit of income before payoff of debt is compulsory, many of us will find ourselves having to suffice at a poorer living standard upon entering the work force.

So why does the government hold such distaste for education?

As much as it may seem like the government is subjectively crushing your dreams of becoming a lawyer or doctor, their actions are generally for the best interest of society. I may not have sufficient data to determine the exact reason for why the government would provoke the younger population but through general economic theories we can create a general idea of why. Firstly, conventionally speaking, the government is only cutting funding for university students which is payed by taxpayer dollars. Generally, this would indicate the government is reallocating resources to maximise benefits for society. Funding cut from the education sector could easily be placed into public transport, welfare or any other sector that is in need for money. For this reason, it’s assumed the amount of university educated individuals has reached an excess in which a skill shortage in labour work such as trades are needed. Moreover, with the general trend of university graduates holding degrees but working in fields that don’t require them (e.g. fast food, retail) can be regarded as an ineffficient allocation of resources in which the Turnbull government  aims to fix.

So what could go wrong?

The disadvantages of employing such policies is that it’s effects aren’t apparent until years later on. This would be disastrous when the issue of educated industries becoming short on labour becomes apparent. The government would then have to immigrate foreign workers to fill this skill gap until the Australian labour force becomes skilled again. On the contrast, the benefits if the government were to properly reallocate resources could see Australia’s economy to prosper and flourish, but that’s just wishful thinking.

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14 Comments

  1. Do these changes affect TAFE course prices? because recently ive read articles saying that the number of apprentices for physical labour jobs such as plumbing has decreased within the last decase, which has increased the equilibrium price of many goods and services of this nature. The government has also been heavily advertising TAFE on social media, so perhaps they are keen to incentivise TAFE as opposed to uni, as the number of people attending universities has increased by far more than that of TAFE in recent years

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  2. I do find it interesting that this is occurring simultaneously with the changes in worker visas. The restriction on the overseas workforce is designed to put Australians first for Australian jobs. Surely additional support for education and training of those Australian workers should accompany this policy? Instead, it seems that education is becoming more difficult to access financially. We may end up with a larger skill gap in the future as a result.

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  3. Australia is guaranteed to see an extreme labour shortage in the future. Increasing costs for high education drive people away from getting degrees, so people will have fewer qualifications. Additionally, changes in immigration policies will significantly decease the size of the labour force.

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    1. Another thing – aside from opportunity costs (investing into healthcare instead of education), are there any advantages of deregulated uni fees?

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      1. There are those who argue that government compensated university courses(through HEX for example) actually increase the overall price of universities. The logic behind this is that students don’t try and get lower prices for their courses as the government is helping them pay for it anyway and this leads unis to increase prices. Personally, I don’t believe this but it is one of the arguments out there.

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      2. It depends what you mean by deregulation. If you mean the increase in fees then I’m also interested to see how it affects the economy but its important to make the ditinction between allowing a fees increase and deregulating fees altogether. It uni fees were completely deregulated theoretically this would allow the market to value uni fees and thus price to fluctuate based on the quality of degree available. Sadly, this is overshadowed by the catastrophic occurence of for-profit startup unis which charge not only the student but more importantly the government for students they either do not teach or have signed up with allures of free laptops but do not attend classes. These uni’s and tafe’s end up making millions of dollars off the governemnt and the student before folding with little explaination as to where the money has gone, leaving the government out of pocket and the student carrying a HECS debt for a degree they never received.

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  4. The increase of 7.5% in uni fees would be spent on further funding for primary and secondary education which wouod be a trade off but i believe it is worth it as future generations would be able to receive a better education but for us we would not be able to reviece the benefits of these changes and would have to pay the increased uni fees. This could also discourages some to not go to uni as the costs may not be worth it.

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  5. The increase in university fees can cause some job vacancies which requires skilled workers. People may choose not to go to university which might lead to skill shortage and therefore overseas labour force are required. However, the cancellation of visa 457 makes it more difficult to hire overseas workers. The changed in uni fees can cause a skilled worker shortage in the future.

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  6. I don’t think the fee increase will deter many young Australians wanting to attend Uni just because on average the types of jobs you can work after a Uni degree normally have higher pay and are less physically intensive. I believe more people are concerned that the fee hike and paying them back sooner is happening at the same time. One policy or the other doesn’t look as bad as the compounding of them together that this government has done. End of the day people who want to go to uni will still end up there pretty much regardless of the price.

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  7. I don’t like it, especially because we’ll be the ones affected, but the whole thing is still very generous compared to other countries. The government also lose a lot of money from people who dont end up wanting/getting a job after graduating, or end up moving overseas.

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  8. This may push students towards getting a practical job like a trade, instead of something less useful like an arts major. Always need more tradespeople

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  9. Push up the University Fee will immediately increase the households’ pressure. Also will happen Australia labour shortages in the future, at the same time the visa 457 need high requirements if foreign labour want to work in the Australia which means will negative impact the foreign people move to Australia. In this situation, labour shortages and less professional people allow to work in Australia, how to improve the Australia economic growth?

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  10. I’m not a fan of this scheme especially because it means that we lose out. For those who don’t work at the moment or don’t plan to take on more work after school, this should be fine but those of us who do want to obtain more work, it could mean that we pay our uni fees while we are at uni which will ultimately create decreased living standards. I will have to work more to pay for my normal expenses as well as the uni loan and it will also create a lot of stress for keeping up with uni work, working more shifts and paying bills.

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  11. With an increase in uni fees, the amount of skilled labour will most likely decrease as people won’t be as able to afford education and along with the governments restrictions on giving work to foreigners, it’ll be interesting to see who will work the jobs that require a higher education in the future

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