There has been a lot of talk recently, regarding funding for Universities with many an argument flying freely from both sides of camp. Some are suggesting that Universities are grossly underfunded, and are calling for more assistance from the government to ensure that the Higher Education practices in Australia are able to maintain the high standard we have come to expect from our Universities. Some, are firmly of the thought that we should be pouring that money into something more quote unquote worthwhile, and consider the new ‘Newspace’ building in town for example to be a bit of an eyesore. There is also a third argument emerging agreeing that yes Universities should continue to receive the influx of funding, but instead of the government footing the bill and by extension the tax payer, that perhaps students themselves should be the ones shouldering the debt caused by the pure selfishness of wanting to both better themselves and further their education.
This particular argument has a very strange and delightful way of getting under my skin and causing a momentous amount of grief. Purely because the generation who are offering this argument to the masses, most likely benefited from free University education under Gough Whitlam between 1974 and 1988. These same individuals have thrown around ideas such as “raise fees” and “there’s a thing called student loans you know” and other big obnoxious words like de-regulation. Usually I put all of these thoughts and words aside, focus on my studies, and hope that whatever little faith I have in the Australian government to have my back holds up. This was of course until I started researching some higher education courses in other countries most notably the United States and Canada.
As I’m heading overseas in June, (even when I’m on holidays I am always and forever working) I thought why not see if I can squeeze in a short course while I’m there. Purely for tax related purposes, not because I am a giant nerd who just loves to learn, obviously. My worst fears were realised however, after a quick scroll through the course outline and semantics for an eight-week creative writing program at NYU. At $11,296 US or $14,719 AUD for those playing at home, which is the entire budget for my trip it was a little out of my price range. It was only then, that I really started to realise the burden placed on young people, or even anyone looking to study, the minute they graduate. Unlike the tertiary education process in Australia, students in the states are either forced to pay up front or take out student loans (which accumulate interest I might add) only to begin to pay them back the minute they graduate. This means that in most cases, the cost of education far outweighs the benefits. A University degree does not guarantee you a job in todays world, so why would you want to completely burden yourself and your family with a crippling amount of financial debt?
I feel lucky to live in Australia for many different reasons, every single day. Here’s hoping the government does its job, at lease in regards to education, and helps to keep it that way. How’s my HECS debt? It’s great, thanks for asking.