The Senate has passed contentious laws that will dramatically increase the cost of some university degrees, while cutting the cost of others.
Under the changes, the cost of a social sciences degree will more than double, while nursing, mathematics and teaching degrees will become cheaper.
The laws also remove government support for students who fail too many courses.
The cost of degrees will change due to a major shake-up of how much the Commonwealth will pay for students’ degrees.
Education Minister Dan Tehan says the changes will give students cost incentives to study subjects that will prepare them for fields where jobs are needed.
“The … legislation will provide more university places for Australian students, make it cheaper to study in areas of expected job growth and provide more funding and support to regional students and universities,” he said earlier in the week.
The changes were passed by the Government with the support of One Nation and Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff, whose crucial vote the Government secured earlier this week.
In securing his support, the Government made concessions to give South Australia more Commonwealth–supported places, and offer some protections to students who failed courses.
The laws will now go back to the House of Representatives, where the Coalition has the numbers to ensure the bill passes.
The changes are strongly opposed by Labor and the Greens, along with independent senators Rex Patrick and Jacqui Lambie.
Opponents of the laws say the changes saddle university students with substantially higher debt if they pursue their preferred study paths.
How much students can expect to pay:
|1||Teaching, clinical psychology, English, maths, nursing, languages, agriculture||$3,700|
|2||Allied health, other health, architecture, IT, creative arts, engineering, environmental studies, science||$7,700|
|3||Medical, dental, veterinary science||$11,300|
|4||Law & economics, management & commerce, society & culture, humanities, communications, behavioural science||$14,500|
More to come.