Budget 2017: University fee changes a 'stupid decision'
A "BLOODY stupid decision" is how one Southern Cross University student summed up sweeping changes to tertiary education in the Federal Budget.
From next year, students will cop a 7.5% jump in tuition fees over four years and other changes that will see graduates repaying their debt at a faster and higher rate.
Student body LEXSA president Alex Hammond said the measures would make it more difficult for prospective students to attend university.
"Making education less available to the people is just going to hurt Australia's economy in the long run," the osteopathy Masters student said.
Mr Hammond said the fee and repayment shuffle indicated the Federal Government was out of touch with Australian university students.
"The people deciding these things now were part of a generation that had it the easiest, they had free education," he said.
First year social welfare student Michael Jones was worried the restructures would deter school leavers from studying at university.
"I believe this will have a lot of people second guessing about coming to do an undergraduate degree," Mr Jones said.
The government's adjustment to begin loan repayments at an income of $42,000 instead of $51,957 frustrated fellow under- graduate Jacob Stone.
He said the earlier repayment model would leave students with no financial reprieve while working up the corporate ladder.
First year student Lee Zammit was also concerned the government's plan to shave $2.8 billion from its allocations to universities might lead some institutions to remove fee caps.
"If you cut the funding the fees are going to go up anyway. If you take the cap off then they are going to go up further," Ms Zammit said.
"The government's not doing anything at all to assist the universities to make the money."
Sports and exercise student undergraduate Zac Whitbread said he was grateful his family could support him during his degree.
He said the Budget would mean people might need to think carefully about their career paths and if they were viable in the long term.