On Friday 19 June, Australia’s Education Minister, the Honourable Dan Tehan, announced a raft of reforms to the funding of domestic students at Australian universities. These proposals would, among other things:
- increase the cost of most Humanities, Law and Commerce degrees and shift the costs (90%) onto students
- reduce student fees for a host of other degrees, mostly in STEM but also English and languages
- reduce the total cost for many STEM and other degrees, thus reducing the revenue universities could receive from those degrees
The justification for these changes was to encourage students to study fields which are, supposedly, more likely to lead to jobs. This both devalues the standing of Humanities degrees while at the same time ignores evidence that students with Arts degrees have high rates of employment – even higher than those with Math and Science degrees.
Several associations have put out public statements opposing the increase in Humanities costs and loss of overall revenue, including the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Australian Academy of Science, Australian Historical Association, Association for the Study of Australian Literature, Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and Australian Political Studies Association.
InASA has responded by sending letters to strategic cross-bench senators, the Greens and Labor encouraging them to oppose the proposed changes. Copies of those letters are available here:
The Honourable Tanya Pilbersek
InASA members may wish to write your own letters to your local MPs and senators.