Uni Cuts: The Break Down

The 2017 Australian Federal Budget is going to break some hearts and mend some sorrows – depending on who you are.

So let’s talk students, more specifically, the university students of wonderful Oz.

 

Image result for graduation university of wollongong
Illawarra Mercury 2015 December graduation at University of Wollongong

 

In 2014 we had the initial and ACTUALLY terrifying concept of deregulation and ridiculous fee increases – this was lobbied efficiently, and did not (hopefully will not) happen. The current 2017 budget proposal – let’s take that word in, ‘proposal’ – wants to do a few things in a nutshell:

  1. Decrease government funding to universities (which over 4 years, the Govt. is hoping to decrease funding by $900 Million under Labor or $2.8 Billion under ol’pal-Mal. There are 42 accredited Australian Universities, each boasting multiple campuses across the nation. Do the math.).
  2. Change the loan repayment schedule – as in, instead of paying back your HECS/HECS-HELP/etc when you start earning $55,000.00 p.a., there is a chance you will need to start paying back the loan when you start earning $42,000.00. Which would make your YEARLY repayment around $500.00 in total. What’s $500.00 over a year? About $1.37 per day, not even a coffee,
  3. Increase funding to UNDER-FUNDED degrees. We are all aware that to fund an Arts degree is nowhere near as expensive as a Bachelor of Medicine or to become a Veterinarian. Essentially, money will be taken out, but there will be injections of love into the costly degrees that aren’t covering themselves through student fees and whatnot.

Universities are not SUPPOSED to be profitable organizations. However, they seem to be making amazing turnovers, for example, the Sydney Morning Herald noted that the University of Sydney had an average profit margin of 5.3 percent in 2015 of $157 million, and the University of Melbourne recording strong surpluses of  $141 million. Here’s the big question – Why do they need to make this kind of profit? They could effectively pay for the accommodation, university fees and textbooks for each student for the year with this kind of profit.

For a personal hit to the head, my precious UOW boasted a 2012 operating surplus of $38 million. Here’s the big question – Why do they need to make this kind of profit? They could effectively pay for the accommodation, university fees and textbooks for each student for the year with this kind of profit.

If Vice-Chancellors are dedicated to education, why are they being paid so much? With many news platforms pointing out that some top-dogs in our universities are hitting the $1 million mark. Where is the love? Why are university owned accommodation costs going through the roof and floor and windows? Why

Why are university owned accommodation costs going through the roof and floor and windows? Why

Why are: textbooks not free, resources not being updated, parking fees increasing exponentially? The list goes on.

University should not be free, as it is just unrealistic and we need to put the fact of ‘all these pollies cutting our funding got free uni’ behind us. There are some great initiatives in the 2017 budget, and as with all things any government does, YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE.

Final thoughts.

Maybe we shouldn’t be shouting at the government, let’s shout at the universtities who are making us pay extreme rates for parking, increasing our on-campus accommodation costs (to a point where people go into debt with the accommodation board), cutting tutorials and trying to sell us textbooks written by our own academics.

 

Would love to hear what you think! Or if I need to be corrected – do it with a smile.

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2016 USA Election: What We Are Missing

HEMPSTEAD, NY - SEPTEMBER 26:  (L-R) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands after the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York.  The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC's Lester Holt.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
HEMPSTEAD, NY – SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands after the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The election in the United States has caused a stir around the world, and every Nancy, Joe and Bob are giving their insight -whether we asked or not. So, here is one more average-joe throwing an opinion into the ring.

President Elect Donald J Trump has certainly made history, being the 45th President with no prior government or military experience. If anything, he dodged it. But no one can argue the fact that Trump is a businessman. So, he is not totally inexperienced.

From an Australian point of view (we will get to how the US’s president affects us), no-one would ever beat the historical triumph of Barack Obama entering the White House. Plus, the options this year for President were not fabulous, Clinton and Trump. Who do you pick? Well the resounding consensus is that you pick the lesser of two evils, and America decided that was Trump, not my choice, but that is what happened. I am also an outsider, with no real everyday-life insight into what Americans face. But there is an obvious point we are missing.

This is how democracy works. People are protesting in the states at the current moment and predicting Americas descent into the hellish abyss, but that’s what they chose. This is what democracy is, don’t fight it.

You cannot hate democracy when the person you want doesn’t win, and visa versa. Credit, where credit is due; Trump made a fairly good speech following the realization of his presidency. I thought it showed a different side. Now that the fighting between him and Clinton is over, there may be a little more cohesion in his policies and thoughts.

How does this affect Australians? In a nut shell, we are attached the America’s side (whether our government acknowledges that or not). We owe the US far too much for them to every do anything to us – end deals, etc – however, if the US’s relations turn sour with states like China, this could impact super negatively on Australia’s relations with China. If America also leads the way to further cutting down assistance to refugees, Australia may follow suit, and our refugee policies and general treatment is horrendous.

I am not by any means a Trump fan, nor am I a Clinton fan – but we must be able to see that decision will only make things worse. America must stand together, and maybe Trump could be a good thing. Optimistic thinking wouldn’t hurt anyone right now.