Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE: Postgraduate students are left out of the COVID-19 stimulus payments, says CAPA

13 Mar 20

Postgraduate students are left out of the COVID-19 stimulus payments, says CAPA.

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is disappointed that as it currently stands, most postgraduate students will not be eligible to benefit from the COVID-19 stimulus payments. We condemn the ignorance of this government to acknowledge the financial hardship of the postgraduate population even in these difficult times. 

Postgraduate students were already struggling with financial hardships and CAPA has consistently expressed concerns that this government needs to make youth allowance and Austudy available to all postgraduate students. Denying newstart support to postgraduate students now also means they will also miss out on this stimulus payment.

The Higher Education sector has taken a massive hit, international student enrolments are down and we have already seen the University of Tasmania enacting drastic measures by cutting 300+ courses. We are concerned that many other other universities will soon follow suit, and it’s the casual staff and postgraduate students here that will suffer. 

We estimate that 63% of research students have taken on a PhD without a stipend scholarship and have done so through assurances they will be provided casual teaching roles to sustain their living cost. These students and casual staff were already struggling financially, with this loss of income and without compensation from the university and government; there will be a significant increase of postgraduate students living in poverty. 

“Students are already doing it tough”, says National President Romana Begicevic. “The majority of research students are taking on their studies without a stipend scholarship and are unable to afford basic necessities such as food. The government must address the implications this virus will have on our universities, staff and students”. 

We demand that the Morrison government acknowledge the financial hardship of postgraduate students and extend the stimulus package and newstart allowances to include all students and staff affected by this disaster. 

For comment:
CAPA National President Romana-Rea Begicevic
M: 0420 258 404