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Students deeper in debt.



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Press Release

STUDENTS DEEPER IN DEBT 03 MARCH 2004

The Federal Member for Calwell, Ms Maria Vamvakinou, has written to the LaTrobe University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Michael Osborne to express opposition to the University Council decision to increase HECS fees by 25 per

cent from 2005.

The decision by the major northern suburbs university with campuses at Bundoora and regional Victoria will have the effect of increasing the future HECS debts of future Victorian and local students.

“Current and past tertiary students who live in the electorate of Calwell already owe more than $76 million in debt.”

“LaTrobe’s decision to increase HECS fees means more debt for more Victorian university students.”

“However the blame for the increase fees lies at the feet of Howard government Education Minister Brendan Nelson whose so-called university reforms allow increases in HECS fees.”

“Melbourne’s northern suburbs form part of LaTrobe University’s catchment for student enrolments and is often the first university considered by local students considering applying for tertiary studies” Ms. Vamvakinou said.

“The imposition of higher debt may well prove to be a disincentive for students considering study at LaTrobe University in 2005.”

“I have written to LaTrobe University asking that it reconsider its decision and recommit itself to its record of long standing equity successes and cancel any proposed increases in fees” Ms. Vamvakinou said.

“Mark Latham and the Labor Party will reverse planned increases in HECS fees and support universities and students through the funding of 20,000 extra university places” Ms. Vamvakinou said.

“Students from low-socio economic backgrounds remain underrepresented in tertiary education.

“This is particularly true for students within my region who find themselves without a local university campus and continue to suffer from severe levels of social disadvantage” Ms. Vamvakinou said.