University students will be affected dramatically with the 2016 federal budget not being very kind to them all. Not only could attending university become more expensive, but it could become a lot harder to get into desired courses to begin with. The government wants to introduce a base ATAR mark for university admission. Currently, if a student doesn’t get a high enough mark but there are still spare spaces available they can be admitted into the course. However this will no longer be the case and no base mark means no university entry.
University fees are set to rise with the Turnbull government’s “alternative model flexibility.” Universities will be able to set their own fees for various courses in exchange for losing government public funding. The Budget Papers state that “this measure is estimated to achieve savings of $2.0 billion over five years from 2015-16 in fiscal balance terms and cost $596.7 million over five years from 2015-16 in underlying cash balance terms.”
Just to make matters worse, the government also want students to repay back their HECS debt even sooner. At the moment, graduates will start paying back their debt once they earn over $54,126 but the introduction of a “household means test” would take into consideration incomes of a whole household. This means how much parents or de facto partners that graduates live with are making will contribute to when HECS will need to start being paid back. The government is hoping to introduce this by 2018, the same year outstanding student debts are expected to hit $70.4 billion.