IT’S hard enough to get some of our younger generation to enter tertiary education without almost pricing it out of many people’s possibilities.
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For many, their bill at the end of their tertiary life runs into the many tens of thousands and may take years to pay back.
Universities, like any other business, must be viable into the future. But to keep their books in the black after government funding cuts, student hip pockets are predicted to be slugged another 40 per cent to help recoup costs.
The taxpayer bill to put students through higher education is set to skyrocket if universities are allowed to set their own fees.
New analysis shows the cost of student debt owed to the taxpayer is predicted to soar from $1.7 billion to $11 billion within a decade.
Uncapping university places and opening up loans to vocational education are just some of the future prospects students can look forward to.
A Parliamentary Budget Office report states Turnbull Government plans to deregulate university course fees will be the main driver of the growing loan portfolio.
It predicts student fees will soar by 40 per cent as universities recover costs following a planned 20 per cent government funding cut.
In addition, the PBO projects student fees will increase by two per cent every year.
To add insult to injury, the debt is expected to be driven by those students who are unlikely to repay their loans because they earn below the taxable income threshold. This is particularly the case for those taking on vocational education. These are the people who become our plumbers, our brickies and our electricians. It may be impossible for some of them to repay this debt.
Those "doubtful debts" will double in a decade to $4 billion.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham blames the Gillard Government for including the "irresponsible and recklessly-arranged" VET fee help program and demand-driven university places for the debt blowout.
"There is no point believing that just by racking up ever-increasing debts today, that somehow Australians down the track will miraculously be able to pay for them," he said.
While the fee plan has twice been rejected by the Senate, the government will outline its planned changes for higher education in the May 3 budget.
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