Students will face higher university fees under a proposal set to be included in next week’s federal budget.

Student fees would rise by at least 25 per cent, students would be lugged with a loan fee before starting their studies, while the salary threshold for student loans would be lowered, The Weekend Australian reported on Saturday.

Instead of the Abbott-era funding cut of 20 per cent, universities are set to face an annual efficiency dividend.

Vice-chancellors will meet in Canberra on Monday for a briefing about the proposal, which would end the three-year period of funding uncertainty the higher-education sector has faced.

The president of the National Union of Students, Sophie Johnston, condemned the move on Twitter, describing the proposal as an ‘agenda against vulnerable Australians this budget season.’

‘We defeated dereg[ulation] in 2014 and we will defeat any attacks in 2017,’ Johnston tweeted on Saturday.

The education minister, Simon Birmingham, will speak at the National Press Club on Thursday to defend the proposal, The Weekend Australian report said.

A 2014 Budget proposal that would have deregulated university fees and cut federal government funding by 20 per cent never passed the Senate.

The federal government has sought to reduce the impact of student loans on the Budget, as student numbers have grown from 800,000 in 2009 to 1.1 million last year.

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