In the recently announced 2014-2015 Budget, the Abbott Government unveiled its plans to deregulate the university sector. These plans have been heavily opposed by both the National Union of Students and the ANU Students’ Association, as well as by thousands of students across Australia.

The Government’s Budget Papers currently outline that the current caps on university fees would be removed from 1 January 2016 for students who accept an offer to commence a course from 14May 2014 onwards. Under the proposed system, students who have commenced or deferred starting their degree before 14 May 2014 would not have to face the increased fees that newer students would have to face.

Yet as debate rages on about the policy, questions have been raised about how exactly this will impact students who decide to change degrees or universities while currently enrolled. While current students would have started their degree before 14 May 2014, would changing degrees technically make them a new student and eligible for the new fees? What about if they changed universities?

In information obtained by Woroni from the Department of Education, it has been confirmed that students currently enrolled will not be charged under the new fee structures.

The Department of Education outlined that students who are enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) from before 14 May 2014 are considered ‘continuing students.’ Status as a ‘continuing student’ will apply regardless of any decisions to change their degree or switch universities, as long as students maintain enrolled in a CSP.

So breathe easy current undergrads; you can sleep safely knowing that you won’t have to pay the increased fees that many of your younger friends will.

Photo by Ross Caldwell

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