Photo source: Law student Dora West pictured with co-worker Adam Flint.
Students with part-time jobs fear that their studies will be affected by proposed changes to the HECS debt because they will need to work more to make ends meet.
A pre-Federal budget announcement last week suggested that university students will face HECS debts much sooner than planned, and will be hit with higher fees.
The student income threshold is expected to be lowered from $55,000 to $42,000 per year and if fees rise they will have to work longer hours which could affect their performance at university.
Final-year journalism student Lincoln Cook has been working since he was 16 years old and believes that these reforms will severely impact students.
“I wouldn’t have even tried to enter the higher education system had these changes been in place, because I would have been so in fear of how I would actually afford to pay for my studies in the long-term” he says.
Murdoch University senior lecturer Dr. Ian Cook, who has a PhD in Political Theory, has noticed young people struggling with the high cost of living and believes that this reform will only make things harder on them.
“These measures should get considerable scrutiny in the Senate and we may see a decent debate about them, because the short-term focus of this policy and its long-term consequences deserve careful consideration” Dr. Cook says.
Course fee hikes next year will include a $700 increase for three-year Arts degrees and an extra $3900 for six-year medical degrees.
From January 1st, the allocation of higher-education funding will contingent on a new criteria of performance requirements.
Optus employee at law student at Murdoch, Dora West says that after this year’s announcement of harsh penalty-rate cuts to hospitality and retail wages, the government is sending the wrong message.
“I don’t understand why the government thinks attacking students is good policy,” Miss West says.