In a dramatic blow to many university students, the Federal government has passed a controversial law which will drastically affect university costs across Australia. Students studying humanities and social sciences will see their fees roughly double, while degrees relating to teaching, maths, nursing, languages including English and agriculture will see fee decreases.
In the Senate, the bill was passed by the government, with the support of One Nation and the Centre Alliance. Education Minister Dan Tehan, who proposed the changes has previously argued that:
“[The] legislation will provide more university places for Australian students, make it cheaper to study in areas of expected job growth and provide more funding and support to regional students and universities.”
This bill, as well as the job-centered attitude, has been criticised by the National Union of Students (NUS), who disputed Tehan’s views when the bill was first proposed:
“Universities are not job factories and tailoring fees around that premise will hurt our sector in a time where we are already facing billions of dollars lost and hundreds of staff cuts.”
After passing the Senate on Thursday the 8th of October, the bill was passed in the House of Representatives early in the afternoon of Monday the 19th of October.
This law will further affect those students who have failed multiple courses, with government support being removed for students who fail more than half of their courses. However, within regional areas of Australia, including Tasmania and South Australia, universities will receive more concessions.