Australian universities fees
Studying journalism in Australia is going to cost several thousands more for students who enrol next year. Source: Greg Wood/AFP

The Australia university fees overhaul to encourage more students to enrol in STEM courses will cause its universities to lose 900 million Australian dollars (US$640 million) in funding and courses to cost up to 7,696 Australian dollars more. This is according to new modelling from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC).

Researchers Steven Bond-Smith and associate professor Rebecca Cassell wrote that funding for most courses will be lowered, except medicine and agriculture.

Launched by Education Minister Dan Tehan in September, the Job-ready Graduates Package will effectively slash AU$1.7 billion in funding from the Australian universities. If student payment increases by AU$800 million, that would still reduce funding by approximately AU$900 million.

This plan aims to increase overall student contribution by 6%, thus creating more places at university without increasing government funding. However, this prospect is dampened by massive revenue loss and lowered enrolments in the fallout of COVID-19.

Australian universities

The Australia university fees overhaul to encourage more students to enrol in STEM courses will cause its universities to lose 900 million Australian dollars (US$640 million) in funding. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

“Change inconsistent with government intentions”

Society and Culture courses will see the largest hike in student contributions — up to AU$7,696 more.

As Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia pointed out, such humanities education produces people who can “ask the right questions, think for themselves, explain what they think, and turn those ideas into actions”.

Dr Bond-Smith and Professor Cassells also agree that the greatest areas of employment growth will be in jobs that are difficult to automate.

They said, “While increased total funding for Management and Commerce, Philosophy and History, and Law and Economics may improve their quality, the proposed changes reduce Commonwealth funding even though these fields are likely to provide many of the transferable skills necessary for the future of work. This change is therefore inconsistent with the government’s stated intentions.”

BCEC researchers say channelling funding into Society and Culture courses could prove more beneficial towards the government’s aim.

Australian universities

Coolangatta Beach with Surfers Paradise in the background back in April. Queensland’s premier has called for quarantine exemptions to end in view of increased COVID-19 cases. Source: Patrick Hamilton/AFP

Australian universities in Queensland receive AU$150m bailout

The Queensland government has announced that it will offer loan packages to struggling universities in the state. A total of AU$150 million has been allocated.

Universities can soon apply for loans with five-year repayment terms. to “support cash flow, retain workers and maintain research projects,” according to SBS Australia.

Australian universities in Queensland are anticipating a collective loss of over AU$1 billion and 4,000 jobs.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “Thousands of people right throughout regional Queensland rely on universities for a job. This package will help to keep all our universities open, safeguarding these jobs.”

Liked this? Then you’ll love…

Australian immigration: Negative net movement of students to continue

Why Australian universities should not make the arts more expensive than STEM