According to a report this morning, the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, is planning to increase the proportion of university fees payable by students under the income contingent HELP scheme by 10 per cent, to an average 50 per cent of the cost of a degree.

If it is the government’s intention to increase the average student contribution by 10 percentage points, from 40 per cent to 50 per cent then this in fact represents an average increase of one quarter (10/40) or 25 per cent increase in fees payable by students.

NTEU National President Jeannie Rea said an average 25 per cent increase in fees would result in a three year humanities degree costing $5,000 more and a six year medical degree costing over $15,000 more.

“This will do nothing to increase resourcing of our chronically underfunded universities to address issues such as rising reliance on casual and fixed term staff. It simply shifts cost and debt from government to students,” said Rea.

“This is in effect a tax on uni students to help get the budget under control by putting students into greater debt. The NTEU stands strongly opposed to such a measure.”