13 June 17Hope Terdich

The 2017 Budget - How Does it Affect You?

On the 9th of May, the Turnbull Liberal Government released the Federal Budget for 2017. The Budget included significant changes to Higher Education that will affect the everday lives of students. Read on to understand how these changes will affect you, and what you can do to fight them.

  • HECS repayment threshold will be dropped from $54,869 to $42,000. 

How does this affect you?

This means that when start earning more than $42,000 per year, you will be required to pay at least 1% of your salary back to the Government for your degree. This equates to at very minimum $8 per week, and continuing upward as you earn more – goodbye $400-$800 a year!

You will have to start paying back a HECS Debt while earning only just over minimum wage.

  • A 7.5% fee increase, raising the cost of a degree by up to $3,600. The Degree you are currently studying will become more expensive because of the 7.5% increase. 

How does this affect you?

The 7.5% increase is phased in via increases in the maximum student contributions per year.

What is your student contribution? Under the current scheme, students pay on average 40-42% of their fees, with taxes paying the remaining amount. Under the proposed changes, this student contribution amount, will be increased by 1.8% each year between 2018 and 2021 for a total of a 7.5% increase.

So how does this translate? It translates into dollar amounts. Your annual student fees will increase by $2,000 to $3,600. For example, law students currently pay on average $10,596 per year, and nursing students pay $6,439. Under the proposed new contribution rates a law student would pay fees of $13,245 a year and nursing would pay $8,048. Medical students should also watch out! A six-year degree could end up costing you $75,000 according to the Government.

  • Already graduated and think you are unaffected?

How does this affect you?

Under the new budget, graduates will be expected to pay back their HECS faster. Graduates start paying back 7% per cent of their income when they hit a salary of $84,513, rather than the current rate of 6% - 6.5%. Suddenly, that larger salary that you studied hard to achieve, does not translate when paying rent, saving for a house, travelling, paying a mortgage, bills, repayments and maintaining a social life.

  • A $2.8 billion funding cut to universities across Australia.

How does this affect you?

Universities in Australia are already starved for funding. The proposed cuts will make it harder for universities to adequately staff classes, provide campus services and improve facilities. When the government attacks Students and guts funds from universities, it undermines Australia’s future.

  • What can you do?

Tell your local MP how these changes will affect you by signing and sending a letter using the DUSA template. Download, sign and email/post the templates for your Senator below: