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Upfront fee payers taking HECS places.

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Jenny MacklinMP


A new report by the Victorian Auditor General into the Victoria’s university sector has revealed that universities are accepting upfront fee paying students over HECS students.

Universities are selecting students on the basis of their bank balance instead of on merit.

The report reveals that there has been a drop in the number of over-enrolled domestic HECS students, following the introduction of upfront fee paying undergraduate courses in 1998.

The report states that: universities now have a financial incentive to accept fee-paying domestic undergraduate students rather than over-enrol HECS students

Since the introduction of upfront fees HECS over-enrolments have dropped at Melbourne University by more than 60%. Monash and RMIT have also had substantial drops in the number of HECS over-enrolments since 1998.

Universities are favouring prospective students on the basis of their ability to pay and are by-passing students who have achieved better results.

The report also reveals further evidence that Australia’s university sector is struggling under the Howard Government:

• 20,000 qualified prospective Victorian students missed out on a university place in 2002

• Over 6,000 fully Commonwealth funded places have disappeared in Victoria since 1996

• International students are increasing since universities are being forced in greater commercial activity to compensate for savage cuts to funding under the Howard Government.

• Government funding of universities has fallen by since 1989 from 71% of university revenue in 1989 to 48% in 2001

• Student contributions to university income is now around 20%, the highest level in 50 years, and higher than when the Commonwealth assumed full funding in the 1970s

• Less people are applying for university places which the report states is because of an increase in HECS fee levels.

More information: Jenny Macklin 0419 593 622; Joanna Brent 0408 473 278 19 APRIL 2002

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science

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