Following an announcement by the federal government that it will cut funding for higher education in Australia, grave concerns have been raised by stakeholders in the sector. Prof Deep Saini, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Canberra, is among those who feels the move announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison will hurt Universities, and may even compromise the standard of education offered.
The funding cut that total approximately $2.8 billion is not the only bad news students and universities have to contend with. Recovery of HECS loans is also set to be reviewed, and students will now be expected to pay back a larger proportion of the loan in a move that will see those in the lower income bracket also compelled to start making payments.
Prof Saini believes the move will not only impact negatively on international students who are already paying steep fees but that it will also discourage local students from pursuing further studies in Australia.
The Vice Chancellor disagrees with the government’s statement that the budget measures will help nation building saying: “The nation’s future … relies on the next generation’s ability to contribute to the country. If they feel buried under financial debt even before they graduate, we are not helping with nation-building.”
He also feels the countries competitive edge on higher education at an international level could be under threat as a result of the move and seems that other nations like Canada stand to gain if international students opt to pursue university education elsewhere.