By Beau Dunne:
It has been reported by The Age that the Labor party caucus has agreed to 1.1 billion dollars worth of cuts to student funding.
Last week the Federal Government introduced the changes to Parliament in a bill which essentially rehashed changes proposed by Labor in its 2012-13 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
The cuts include scrapping Student Start Up Scholarships, worth $2050 per year to each student, by converting to a “HECS-style” loan.
The cuts would also include the scrapping of the 10% discount on fees if students pay upfront, as well as the scrapping of the 5% discount if students make a $500 one-off voluntary contribution.
Further cuts include an efficiency dividend which would ‘save’ approximately $970 million over 4 years.
Stuck onto the end of the bill which includes these cuts, is another measure which would allow the government to charge interest to anyone who claims Youth Allowance, Austudy, Fares Allowance, ABSTUDY, Living Allowance, and who is ‘not honouring’ a repayment arrangement.
10.1% interest could be charged to disadvantaged students who are unable to honour a debt repayment program under this schedule of the bill.
According to the bill “the rate of the interest charge will be based upon on the 90-day Bank Accepted Bill rate, plus an additional seven per cent”, which is stated in the bill has averaged at 10.1% over the past 4 years.
A student rally in opposition to these cuts has been organised on Facebook, and details can be found is the link below.
For further details on the cuts please refer to the bill which is available on the link below.