Page 13

budget

government on you? make, but then will force them to hike fees to counterbalance the funding cuts at the bare minimum. It is impossible to know what the fees will be, but without a cap an ‘elite’ university like Adelaide will be able to charge what it wants due to its reputation.

Private colleges & unis receive funding There are 39 public universities in Australia. In SA, all three major universities are governed by an Act of the South Australian Parliament. These universities offer Commonwealth Supported Places – that is, all domestic students pay through the HELP system.\

This budget could be viewed as an attack on universities, on students, and on young people.

Commonwealth Supported Places have been strictly controlled, and private universities such as Bond University have struggled to attract funding. Likewise, non-degree granting private colleges have not been able to offer HELP supported places for ‘sub-bachelor’ degrees – such as diplomas. This will change, with for-profit colleges and universities

Different Funding Models Tuition Fees With No Support This is very rare, because of the public benefit from having educated citizens and researchers. Without the HELP system, you would need a massive bank loan or rich parents to get to uni, regardless of your skills.

competing directly with public universities. This will see the rise of predatory marketing, targeting people who wouldn’t normally be eligible for university. How can I be so sure? Well, the private college industry collapsed into a farce in 2009 – 2010, when it was found that most colleges were exploiting international students desperate for visa access to Australia. The Rudd and Gillard governments established a regulatory body to make sure shonky colleges would be found and shut down. Abbott just halved the funding for this body.

Equity Targets Removed

One of the major initiatives of the Gillard Government in Higher Ed was co-ordinating and funding for people who traditionally do not go to university the support they needed to do so. And it was working. People from poor backgrounds have come to universities in record numbers because there was a plan to ensure it. Here at the University of Adelaide, an agreement (“the compact”) was made with the Federal Government to raise participation rates for Indigenous and low-income people. These targets have been completely scrapped. It has also been reported that staff at Wirltu Yarlu, the university’s Indigenous support centre, have been placed on six-month contracts – allowing the University to shut it down on a whim.

Free Education Until 1989, universities were completely free in Australia – and you got paid to do it. Age of Entitlement? Well, not really. Apart from being a right guaranteed by UN treaties to which Australia is a signatory, free higher education is not that expensive, maybe a fighter jet or two. Many developed countries including Ireland, Scotland, and the Nordic countries have it. Even economic basket cases such as Venezuela and Greece(!) have free education. Income Contingent Loan System This is what your HELP debt is. The argument put forward by the Hawke Government was that you could have a big education system, with many more students, or you could have a free education system, with the benefits only felt by the privileged few who could get in. It was never meant to be like this: the economist who designed the original HECS system denounced the proposed deregulation of fees as a disaster for equity in The Age on May 15th. Graduate Tax This is a way of splitting the difference between a completely free system and a tuition system. Essentially, you don’t pay anything until you get the degree, and then for a period of time afterwards you pay an extra few percentage points of income tax. This way, some people will pay more into the education system for their degree, others will pay less, and all based on what they’ve actually done with their skills. This means graduates have a collective responsibility for education, rather than paying their own way. It is likely that the Labour Party in the UK will take this to the next election.

11

PAGE

On Dit Edition 82.6  

INSIDE: What the 2014 Federal Budget means for students.