Election may halt top-ups

September 24, 2004

Thousands of prospective university students in Australia will not know until late next month what course fees they will have to pay in January.

The students have to complete their applications for university places in 2005 by the end of this month without knowing if top-up fees will be introduced.

Prime Minister John Howard's decision to go to the polls on October 9 has thrown the Government's higher education reforms into doubt.

The Labor Party said that if it won power, it would stop universities from adding top-up fees to the Higher Education Contribution Scheme charges and stop them offering full-cost places to Australian students.

Some 26 of the 38 public universities have proposed increasing Hecs charges by up to the government-set maximum of 25 per cent next year and 28 announced plans to have full-fee places.

Even if Labor wins the election, the reversal of top-ups is not inevitable.

It would require Senate approval to reverse the current Government's changes and Labor has only a slight chance of winning enough seats in the upper house to form a majority.

The Conservative Government relied on four independent senators to pass its Higher Education Reform Bill last December. If the independents still hold the balance of power, they would be unlikely to reverse a decision they made less than 12 months ago.

This year, Hecs fees ranged from A$3,768 (£1,473) to A$6,283 a year.

Apart from education and nursing courses, which are exempted from top-up fees, universities from next year can vary Hecs charges from zero to more than A$8,000 for high-cost degrees and from zero to A$4,800 for low-cost ones At present under Hecs, students can defer the charges until they graduate and are earning more than A$24,000 a year - when they begin repaying what they owe via a tax surcharge.

Current and former students owe nearly A$10 billion in Hecs debts but, as part of the Government's reforms, the annual income level at which the surcharge cuts in was raised to A$35,000.

FUTURE FEE PROPOSALS FOR AUSTRALIAN HIGHER EDUCATION

University

Student contributions

Domestic undergraduate fee payers

Adelaide

25 per cent increase except teaching and nursing

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers Newspaper reports claim it may introduce fee-paying undergraduate places

Australian Catholic

No change

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

Australian National

No change

None

Ballarat

25 per cent increase except nursing and teaching

Already has a small number of domestic undergraduate fee payers

Canberra

20 per cent increase

New 5 per cent quota of domestic undergraduate fee paying places charged at a rate equivalent to the Hecs student contribution

Central Queensland

No change

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

Charles Darwin (Northern Territory University)

No change except for 10 per cent increase for law and some external courses New students will face increases of 10 per cent in 2006, 15 per cent in 2007 and 25 per cent in 2007

 

Charles Sturt University

No change

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

Curtin University of Technology

No change

Will not introduce domestic undergraduate fee paying places

Deakin

25 per cent increase for most courses No HECS fees will be charged on natural science and maths units taken by teaching students to address the shortage of maths and science teachers 5 per cent increase for engineering and natural science units

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

Edith Cowan

25 per cent increase

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers Decision made to increase fee-paying student numbers

Flinders

25 per cent increase except teaching and nursing

 

Griffith

25 per cent increase for all courses, except nursing and teaching

Decision made to offer domestic undergraduate fee paying places in 2005

James Cook

No increase

Already has a very small number of domestic undergraduate fee payers

La Trobe

25 per cent increase except nursing and teaching

Already has a small number of domestic undergraduate fee payers Decision made not to offer (new) domestic undergraduate fee paying places in 2005

Macquarie

No Hecs increase but selective lower student contributions (decrease to zero in certain advanced science and technology units and advanced programmes in biology, chemistry and mathematics

None

Melbourne

25 per cent increase for all courses except nursing, teaching, and Advanced Diplomas and Bachelor degrees in Agriculture and Rural Business at the Institute of Land and Food Resources (Dookie campus)Will fill 20 per cent of undergraduate Hecs intake with equity placements, including special entry and scholarship schemes, under a program called "Access Melbourne" Of these, 200 students will receive Melbourne Access scholarships, a HECS-exempt place and an allowance of A$2,000 per annum for up to four years

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers Will increase fee paying student numbers to 35 per cent of enrolments

Monash

25 per cent increase except education and nursing Decreased fees for courses taught only at regional and outer-urban campuses, and selected research honours programmes

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers Will increase the number of domestic undergraduate fee payers by up to 35 per cent

Murdoch

20 per cent increase

Already has a small number of domestic undergraduate fee-payers Will introduce domestic undergraduate fee paying places in 2005 in all courses except veterinary science

New England

20 per cent increase, with exemptions for teaching and nursing courses

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

New South Wales

25 per cent increase from 2006 except nursing and teaching

Already had domestic undergraduate fee payers

Newcastle

25 per cent increase except nursing and teaching courses

Will admit up to 450 domestic fee paying undergraduate students

Queensland

25 per cent increase except teaching and nursing

Reported to be considering "a hefty increase in the number of students who can pay their way into a choice course" Already has a small number of domestic undergraduate fee payers

Queensland University of Technology

25 per cent increase except teaching and nursing

None

RMIT

25 per cent increase

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

South Australia

25 per cent increase except teaching and nursing

Will not add to existing small number of domestic undergraduate fee payers

Southern Cross

No increase

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

Southern Queensland

20 per cent increase except nursing and teaching, and some exemptions for scholarships and high-achieving students

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers, but is considering introducing new places

Sunshine Coast

25 per cent increase except teaching and nursing

 

Swinburne University of Technology

15 per cent increase except for nursing and teaching, and at the National Institute of Design, which will increase by 20 per cent

Increase in quota of domestic undergraduate fee payers up to 35 per cent of students Fee paying places will be priced at slightly less than those offered to international students

Sydney

25 per cent increase for most courses except nursing, education and rural management at Orange campus

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

Tasmania

No increase in 2005 and may lower fees to encourage increased enrolments in future years

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

University of Technology, Sydney

25 per cent increase

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers

Western Australia

25 per cent increase

Ruled out introducing domestic undergraduate fee paying places in the immediate future

Western Sydney

No change

Already has domestic undergraduate fee payers Intends to offer equity scholarships for disadvantaged students, using places normally allocated for domestic fee-paying students

Wollongong

No change

Will not introduce domestic undergraduate fee paying places in 2005

Victoria University of Technology

15 per cent increase

Already has domestic undergraduate fee-payers Will introduce domestic fee-paying students in 2005 for high demand courses to students who meet entry standards

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments