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University education: soaring costs « Previous | |Next »
August 15, 2007

An editorial in The Age says that:

From next year, more than 100 full-fee university degrees in Australia will cost more than $100,000. The rise in courses costing this much money has been extraordinary and is a grave cause for concern. In just four years the total courses costing more than $100,000 has more than doubled. In 2005, 45 degrees cost that much or more. In 2006, the number rose to 60, and this year it climbed to 97.

It comments on this situation thus:
The revelations will fuel the bitter ideological battle that is being fought between the Coalition and Labor over university degrees and, more broadly, the future of education, especially in the tertiary sector. One of the key pitches to voters of Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is the "education revolution". However, for Prime Minister John Howard, it will mean facing down his comment in 1999 to Federal Parliament: "The Government will not be introducing an American-style higher education system. There will be no $100,000 university fees under this Government."

What ideological battle? I'm hearing nothing about higher education. Hasn't the ALP quietly accepted the $100,000 degree? Hasn't the ALP quietly accepted the scrapping of the 35 per cent ceiling on full-fee degrees.

Presumably, the ALP's education policy is still based on Australia’s universities helping to build a strong economy and a smart future for Australia. Education is central to a prosperous future for Australia.The ALP aim is to deliver world-class universities to give Australians the best possible education and training to compete with the rest of the world.

We don't have world class universities. The ones in the top 100 are sliding down the scale.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:59 AM | | Comments (8)


the laboral party has factional disputes, over which bum gets the front seat, but is broadly in agreement that the oz electorate is getting the government they deserve.

and i agree as well: sheep will be ruled by dogs.

a few days ago i remarked that usa was 'living on it's capital'. this link develops that idea in a broad survey, from the horses mouth. a chilling reminder that imperial societies are intrinsically self destructing.

Precisely. To have an ideological battle you at least have to appear interested in the territory. So far neither side seems to want to claim it.

I wonder why?

The ALP's policy on this is unchanged from 1996, though they have clarified that they will phase out by preventing new enrolments from 2009, rather than abolishing existing places.

Rubbish. Look at the ALP website, type in "degrees". You'll see recent comments on the 35% cap, etc etc.

the ALP has pledged to phase out full fee degress for domestic undergraduiates by 2009.

Rudd talks in terms of the education revolution and the under investment of higher education.Thus we find the following:

Education is the pathway out of poverty. It is the pathway to a career, security and a decent standard of living.We want education to be about lifelong learning. From the cradle to the classroom, from the living room to the workplace, we need to keep investing in ourselves, in our skills and therefore in our future.No matter where you are from, or how much money you have, you should still get a great education. That’s our goal. We want education to be for the many and not the few.

Investment in education is tied to productivity growth, ie., an economy can’t reach its full potential unless it continually strives for consistent improvements to productivity and workforce participation.

Ok, I admit I have no university degree and my wife has but I am not any lesser for this. Indeed, as a CONSTITUTIONALIST I have defeated many a lawyer in Court (Their university degrees didn’t help them!).
Still, I do hold the view that universities should be free for Australians. Sure, have “aliens” pay for their education!
By charging university students a fee, it means that when they get into the workforce they have to charge this, with interest payable, back upon the community. So, doctors need to recoup it from their patients, etc. and on and on it goes.
Why should the poor be denied university education, where the parents cannot afford the high cost?
We would do better if we simply commit university students to have free education provided they work at least 10 years following completion of their studies in Australia. In my view, that would be a worthwhile investment and we would have a far better society. After all, why rob those who pursue university studies to be lumped with huge cost that basically rob them in their prime years to settle down because of the huge financial burden to pay back the study cost?
We might just find that economically, in the long term, we are better of to provide free university education. Where there is a will there is a way.