Jeannie Rea. The release yesterday of Universities Australia’s report, University student finances in 2012, clearly shows that students need much more support while they are studying at university, Jeannie Rea National President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said today.
“It’s a national disgrace that almost one in five university students reports going without food and ends up graduating with an average debt of almost $38,000,” Rea said.
“While the report acknowledges that the changes introduced by the Labor government resulted in student income support being better targeted, it is unacceptable that 17% of students regularly go without food and other necessities. A university degree should be built on more than two-minute noodles.
“Eighty percent of full-time university students have a job to support themselves and they work, on average, 16 hours a week. Around a quarter of those with jobs work more than 20 hours a week so altogether it’s no surprise that over half of all students indicated that work was interfering with their studies.
“Over many years working in a university, I have seen too many students stop attending classes and submitting assignments because they need to take on more hours of paid work. Their performances suffer and, too often, they end up abandoning their courses but still have to pay their accumulated HECs debt.”
Australian students pay amongst the highest tuition fees to attend a public university in the world. These fees which are repaid through the income contingent HECS scheme range between $18,000 and $60,000, Rea said. Read more...