In mid January the Group of Eight (a collection of Australia’s supposed top eight universities, of which Sydney University is) made a submission to the Federal Government’s review of the demand driven funding of Higher Education. The submission called for the first step in the ever-pressing push by some universities in Australia to fully deregulate fees and the sector.
The submission suggested that Australian Universities should be able to opt out of Government funding and in exchange charge fully deregulated fees for particular courses. The GO8 proposal was to deregulate law, economics, accounting, and commerce. The submission argued that these specific courses traditionally award with high paying jobs and therefore student’s long-term benefits would allow a higher fee. The proposed fees would be three times the current rate.
The deregulation of fees is an incredibly dangerous road to go on and one that the SRC is firmly against. Allowing Universities to choose the rate in which they charge, will evidently lead to fee increases and create a greater socio economic gap.
It will encourage a culture in which those who will be completing high return courses such as law and commerce will be the students who can afford it. The push over the last decade for Universities to increase the amount of students from low socio economic backgrounds and create a more inclusive acceptance system is counter acted by this push for deregulation of fees.
Although this proposal was submitted without knowledge from the VC Michael Spence, and has not been approved by the Sydney University Senate therefore not an official policy of the University of Sydney it is still a policy endorsed by the group of eight.
On the 26th of March the SRC will be Marching with students all across the state and the country for the National Day of Action against Abbott and Pine’s Education cuts. Join us at Fisher Library at 12pm to fight against any further cuts to your education.