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Unis forced to increase HECS just to survive.

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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP


Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Education & Training Federal Member for Jagajaga

Every university in Australia would be forced to increase HECS fees to survive under the Howard Government’s proposed university changes, according to the architect of Australia’s Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS).

This means across-the-board fee hikes for all students no matter which university they go to.

The Howard Government’s changes will force students and their families to pay higher HECS fees in order to make up for lack of public investment in our universities.

Professor Bruce Chapman today told the Senate Inquiry into the Howard Government’s proposed university changes that the lack of indexation in the Government’s package would force universities to increase HECS just to tread water:

“… if there is no change to the indexation - and this sort of price instrument [30 per cent HECS increases] inevitably means a radical change in the burden of financial resources - no institution will be able to survive down the track without increasing their HECS charges … All the institutions down the track in my view will have higher HECS arrangements.”

This makes a mockery of the Education Minister’s claims that few universities will raise their HECS fees. Professor Chapman is saying that universities will have no choice but to charge fees above current levels in order to survive.

As part of its $2.34 billion package for Australia’s universities and TAFEs, Labor will deliver $312 million additional funding through a new indexation measure to improve standards and quality.

Professor Chapman’s comments show that there is a clear choice for the Government: either provide the necessary indexation for funding, or force students and their families to prop up our university system.

Labor will not support any measures to increase fees for Australian students and their families.

More info: Joanna Brent 0408 473 278 10 October 2003