Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Howard Government out of touch on broken $100,000 uni degree promise.



Download PDFDownload PDF

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP

Shadow Minister for Education and Training Member for Perth

55/07 15 August 2007

HOWARD GOVERNMENT OUT OF TOUCH ON BROKEN $100,000 UNI DEGREE PROMISE

There are now more than 100 degrees conducted by public Universities that cost in excess of $100,000.

This has occurred despite the Prime Minister’s promise that:

“There will be no $100,000 University fees under this Government.”

Yesterday’s release of the 2008 Good Universities Guide also showed that there are two degrees at public universities that cost more than $200,000 - one at roughly the same amount as the average Australian housing loan.

This is the system Treasurer, Peter Costello, has previously described as “generous”, pointing out that in the United States, students forked out more than $100,000 and have to rely on banks to lend them the money.

This only demonstrates just how out of touch the Howard Government has become.

Until recently, the number of full-fee paying domestic undergraduate places at public Universities had been capped at:

• 25 per cent of total HECS places in medicine; and

• 35 per cent of total HECS places in all other degrees.

Following the decision in this year’s Budget to abolish these caps, under the Howard Government it will be open slather on the number of full-fee paying University places for domestic students at public Universities.

In 2005, there were more than 60 degrees which costed in excess of $100,000.

Now there are more than 100.

This situation will only get worse under a re-elected Howard Government.

When the Government first allowed Universities to charge Australian undergraduate students up-front full fees at public Universities, the Government required only a so-called ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to keep entrance rankings for full-fee degrees within 5 points of equivalent HECS places.

This so-called ‘agreement’ has only been honoured in the breach.

This is confirmed by looking at the difference in entrance scores between a HECS place and an equivalent full-fee paying place in 2006 and 2007:

YEAR UNIVERSITY COURSE

HECS CUT-OFF FULL-FEE CUT-OFF

DIFFERENCE

2006 Deakin University Sport Science 82.20 62.45 19.75

2006 University of Adelaide Engineering (Aero) 98.00 80.00 18.00

2006 University of Sydney Behavioural Science 88.10 71.00 17.10

2007 University of Adelaide Law 97.00 85.00 12.00

2006 Deakin University Nursing 75.15 60.20 14.95

2007 Deakin University Commerce 77.90 66.95 10.95

This situation has been brought about because the Howard Government has failed to adequately invest in our Universities, forcing Universities to increasingly rely on income from other sources.

Commonwealth grants to Universities, as a proportion of total revenue, have decreased from 57 per cent in 1996 to 41 per cent.

The Howard Government broke its promise on full-fee degrees and has now delivered a system that is costly and unfair.

That is why Labor will phase out domestic full-fee paying places at public Universities from 1 January 2009.

Contact: Adam Siddique on (02) 6277 4108 or 0407 473 630