Uni Students Foot The Bill For Budget Cuts

With the 2014-15 federal budget being announced in less than two weeks, many universities are already planning how to manage severe government cuts.

Jeannie Rea of the National Tertiary Education Union says students may be asked to front the bill.

“The debate about how to pay for this has quickly shifted away any assumption that this should be a government responsibility,” she said.

The focus is narrowing to how to make students pay for the deficit in government funding.”

The Kemp Norton review into higher education released earlier this month suggests student fees be increased and the cost of some courses rise to cover costs.

“Enrolling new students will help universities now but it’s putting the students in a bad position later in life when they can’t find a job because the market is so flooded,” Ms Rea said.

A national survey by Graduate Careers Australia determined in 2012 that of 70,896 surveyed graduates, 14,441 were still looking for full time work almost half a year after graduation.

Economics Professor with the University of Wollongong Peter Siminski says the value of an apprenticeship and TAFE education are often underrated as Australia’s long term ‘skills shortage’ continues.

“An apprenticeship is an investment just like a university degree, the only difference is you wont put yourself into as much debt obtaining one and it pays off instantly.”

Siminski also says that an influx of graduates and shortage of skilled labourers could have serious repercussions for the economy.

“A shortage of tradesmen means lower economic growth, as the economy misses out on expansion opportunities,” he said.

Despite Australia’s graduate employment rate being at it’s lowest since the 1990’s ,the number of places in Australian Universities rose from 469,000 in 2009 to 577,000 last year.

Although the market is being flooded with graduates, Rea maintains a University education provides “the best shot at a high paying job.”

Multimedia Reporter: Cameron Warner


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