Today Lisa Chesters MP, meet with Latrobe University students to discuss the announced changes to Higher Education to be introduced in next week’s federal budget that will see cuts to University funding and increased student fees.
“I stand with Bendigo Student Association President Andrew Mair and the Bendigo Latrobe Uni students in their opposition to these outrageous cuts and increases to students fees
“The cost of a 4 year degree will increase by up to $3600 and HELP loan repayments will start being deducted once your wage hits $42,000 – over $13,000 less than the current indexed threshold.
“University students will be left with a higher debt and will have to repay it sooner under the Liberal government’s plan. This is just unfair.
“These changes will have a massive impact to regional universities like Bendigo Latrobe. Almost 80% of the students studying at the La Trobe Bendigo campus are from regional areas and almost 60% are the first in their families to study at university.
“We know from research that price is an issue and therefore, less regional, first in family and mature age students will enrol in university courses. This could lead to job losses, courses being cut and the future viability of the Bendigo campus.
“The Liberals have their priorities all wrong and it demonstrates how they only care about metro universities and students.
“Labor doesn't want young regional Australians saddled with a big uni debt at the same time as they are trying to buy a house, or start a family,” said Ms Chesters.
In addition, Federal government funding to universities will be cut by 2.5% in 2018 and 2019. This has the potential to see staff losses, courses cut or less contact hours for students.
“We cannot afford any more jobs or courses to be cut at the Bendigo campus. Bendigo students have already had their contact hours significantly reduced and it’s not fair if they have vital face to face time cut any further.
“I call on the Federal Government and their regional MPs to stand up for regional university campuses, staff and students and reject this plan. It will only hurt regional communities like Bendigo.”