Regional students and communities in Page will be among the winners from the Abbott Government’s higher education reforms introduced in this year’s Budget.
“The Abbott Government’s higher education reforms will expand opportunities and choice in Page meaning more people in our region will be able to study,” the Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan said.
“This reform is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia,” he said.
There are many benefits for university graduates. They:
- earn on average up to 75 per cent more than those who do not go on to higher education after secondary school;
- over their lifetime may earn around a million dollars more than if they had not gone to university;
- are less likely to be unemployed; and
- do not have to pay a dollar upfront for their course because they have access to the Higher Education Loan Programme.
“That is why the Abbott Government wants to see these opportunities for success shared by the people of Page,” Mr Hogan said.
“We will make higher education more accessible by expanding support to pathway courses such as diplomas for those who might not yet be ready to do a full degree.
“The Abbott Government will introduce a massive new Commonwealth Scholarship programme to boost equity of access particularly for regional students.
“We also want to ensure Australian universities are not left behind by the rapidly improving higher education systems of our neighbours, particularly in the Asian region.”
The reforms to higher education announced by the Abbott Government as part of the 2014-15 Federal Budget include:
- creating more opportunities for students from low-socio economic backgrounds and regional areas through Commonwealth Scholarships;
* expanding the demand driven Commonwealth funding system for students studying for higher education diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees, costing $371.5 million over three years;
* extending Commonwealth funding to all Australian higher education students in non-university higher education institutions studying bachelor courses, costing $448.9 million over three years;
- removing loan fees for undergraduate students for FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP;
- maintaining the Higher Education Loans Programme (HELP) where the taxpayer funds all students fees up front; and
- freeing Universities to set their own fees and compete for students.
The new arrangements for university fees will apply from 2016, but all currently enrolled students will continue under the existing fee structure until the end of their current degree or the end of 2020 (whichever is sooner).
“This package will see our brightest students given more opportunities to access world-class higher education, through a new equity initiative,” Mr Hogan said.
“Scholarships funded from $1 in every $5 of additional revenue raised under this system will provide scholarships for disadvantaged students to go to university.
Mr Hogan said the Government is making decisions that repair the Budget, strengthen the economy and prepare Australia for the long term challenges before us.
“We are maintaining the Higher Education Loans Programme (HELP) which means that students don’t have to pay a dollar upfront and only start repaying the cost of their degree when they earn a decent wage,” he said.
“At the same time, access to diploma and other pathway courses will expand as a result of the improvements put forward by the Abbott Government. This will help more students stay in our communities after high school and build the skills and knowledge they need to work in local businesses.
“By making the right choices today, we are creating a stronger country for tomorrow – with stronger small businesses and more well-paying jobs so that all Australians can get ahead.
“The Australian people have said they want a government that would fix the Budget and strengthen the economy. That is what we are doing.”