Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Changes to university costs not ideal: students

District high school students hoping to study at university next year say changes in the cost of university degrees flagged in the Federal Budget are not ideal.

ZACH HUBBER May 16, 2014 3:54am

Moama Anglican Grammar School students Ashley Sutton, Mackenzie Downie and Zach Lucic.

The Federal Government’s abolition of caps on fees universities can charge is set to have an impact on prospective students.

Under new plans set out in the government’s Budget on Tuesday night, the cost of a degree at universities is expected to increase when caps on course costs are scrapped in 2016.

Moama Anglican Grammar School year 12 students Mackenzie Downey and Zac Lucic are hopeful of studying at university next year, while Ashley Sutton is set on joining Victoria Police.

For Mackenzie and Zac, the changes were not ideal.

‘‘I didn’t expect that to happen,’’ Zac said.

‘‘The market now determines the fees, so if only a select few can afford the course, they won’t fill the class.’’

The government will also increase interest on the Higher Education Loans Program (HELP), pegging it to the government bond rate and not to inflation as previous.

Graduates will also repay their debt sooner once they start earning $50,638, down from $53,345.

‘‘The changes will affect us in some way, particularly the change to HECS (HELP),’’ Mackenzie said.

‘‘At an age where you’re looking to pay for a house and a family you don’t want to be worrying about a high HECS fee.’’

Zac is aiming to study economics at Melbourne’s RMIT University, while Mackenzie is looking at studying arts at the University of Melbourne.

For Ashley, all he is concerned about is next month’s Victoria Police entrance exam.

‘‘Our fees are paid after the training once you’re working,’’ he said.

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