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Go8 Media Release: Nothing to fear from university fee deregulation

In a last plea to the Senate, Australia’s leading universities have moved to allay unfounded fears that the deregulation of university fees will lead to exorbitant costs for students.

The Group of Eight says the Government’s decision to delink its 20% of funding cuts for Australia’s universities from the vital fee deregulation legislation should provide assurances to both the Senate cross benchers, with whom the fate of the legislation rests, and to students.

An indicative estimate of domestic fees in a deregulated environment using international fees as a guide to what universities might charge, and factoring in that a university receives direct Commonwealth funding for each Commonwealth-supported place, suggests that the so called $100,000 degrees simply won’t exist for a three year course.

“The fact is there are now no impediments to passing this legislation and the refusal to do so will have long-lasting repercussions for students, and the Australian economy. We desperately need a long-term sustainable solution to current funding problems. What we are left to manage is a broken system, one where there is a deregulated intake of students but a regulated fee structure and much reduced Government funding. It simply cannot work,” says Group of Eight Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson.

“For future quality of higher education to be assured, the funding method must change and unfortunately the first casualties of fee deregulation being defeated in the Senate will be our students.

“Universities won’t close their doors. They will keep on keeping on, but like any business or industry bleeding financially, there will be the inevitable cost-cutting and job losses to stem the flow,” Ms Thomson said.

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Go8 Chief Executive, 0417 808 472

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