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Special Announcement: USASA Response to Higher Education Announcement

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Rachael Sharman

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Special Announcement: USASA Response to Higher Education Announcement

You may have seen this morning the Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, revealed a proposal for extensive changes to the way the Government subsidises Commonwealth Supported University degrees, a move which could saddle some students with a lifetime of debt.

The hardest-hit degrees in Tehan’s proposal include humanities, law, commerce, and communications with some degrees seeing an increase of up to 113% in their cost for students. The rationale used by the Government in announcing these changes implies that degrees in these areas do not produce “job-ready graduates”.

The University Of South Australia is ranked number one in South Australia for Law and Business/Economics (THE World University Rankings 2020), and graduates from the University have extremely high participation rates in the labour force of 94% (2019 Graduate Outcomes Survey Longitudinal Labour Force Participation Rate Medium Term ( To suggest that there isn’t growth or opportunity for students in these fields is disingenuous by Minister Tehan.

While this news may sound favourable to students in other fields of study, USASA does not agree that incentivising programs in those fields should come at the expense of different disciplines Particularly on the unfounded basis that they are not “job-relevant”. The Higher Education sector needs additional funding now more than ever, and this cut in disguise is further proof of the Federal Government’s absolute lack of regard for universities and the students that attend them.

USASA stands with the National Union of Students in their calls on the Minister to adequately fund education, and not force students to shoulder the burden of their poor economic management. The idea that pursuing a degree in humanities, business, or law is not a “job-relevant decision” is unfounded, and the Government does not need to gut these areas to incentivise growth elsewhere.

Noah Beckmann
Student President
University of South Australia Students Association