Sydney students fear postgrad plans will lead to rising debt

A University of Sydney proposal to increase the number of postgraduate places at the expense of undergraduates will lead to rising debt levels among students, it has been argued.

Elly Howse, the University of Sydney student president, claimed that the proposed changes could cause long-term damage to the Australian jobs market by forcing people to stay in higher education for longer.

’’I don’t think it’s equitable,’’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald. ’’These universities are changing the job market by making employment increasingly reliant on postgraduate study. This is pushing students further and further into debt.’‘

Under the university’s plans, the proportion of undergraduate students would be cut by between four and 14 per cent while the number of postgraduates and foreign students would rise considerably.

Ms Howse suggested the university is aiming to bankroll its finances by using domestic and international students who pay full fees to enrol as postgraduates.

If enacted, such changes could prompt more Aussies to compare student finances, particularly if it becomes harder to secure places. At present, domestic undergraduate students pay only a proportion of the cost of their courses under the HECS scheme, with the government paying the university a set amount for each student place.

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