The universities — even the Go8 — don’t plan to increase fees more than they have to. This is simply because they are opposed in principle to high fees with high HECS interest rates. University administration don’t like it. In fact, universities would barely raise fees at all if it weren’t for the corresponding cut in Commonwealth contributions. We will end up with the (unexpected) result that universities will be sacrificing millions in possible funding as a voluntary concession to students.
The consequences of fee deregulation can’t be fully known until the details of the policy are clearer. But here’s my prediction:
- Fees will rise by 10-30%. They will not double.
- Science and medicine will increase by more than other degrees
- HECS interest increases won’t go ahead
Unfortunately, the more that student contributions increase, the more it will fuel that peculiarly Australian conception of higher education as having a necessarily vocational function.