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MEDIA RELEASE: Postgraduates get a raw deal despite top graduate outcomes

12 Jan 18

MEDIA RELEASE: Postgraduates get a raw deal despite top graduate outcomes

12 January 2018 – The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) calls on the Federal Government to recognise the value and employment outcomes of postgraduate qualifications by extending income support to all postgraduate students.

The 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey, released today, demonstrates that recent graduates of postgraduate courses enjoy a boost in employment rates. The high rate of full-time employment of those with postgraduate coursework qualifications (86%) and postgraduate research qualifications (80%) just four months after graduating indicates that employers value the skills and knowledge possessed by those with advanced degrees.

The Graduate Outcomes Survey also established that 21% of those with undergraduate qualifications opted to go on to full-time postgraduate study immediately after graduation. Postgraduate study is becoming ever more crucial to students’ career planning. However, those continuing on to postgraduate study are in for quite a shock, as entitlements for postgraduate students are inconsistent with those afforded to undergraduates.

Domestic students enrolled in some postgraduate courses in study areas with top employment outcomes are not eligible for income support. Eligibility for income support payments, such as Youth Allowance or Austudy, for coursework degrees varies wildly between courses and institutions. For research students, support is obtained through a scholarship or not at all, resulting in approximately half of domestic research students being entirely without income support despite their invaluable contributions to Australia’s research output. CAPA calls on the Federal Government to extend income support eligibility to all postgraduate coursework and research students, which we advocated for in our 2018/19 Pre-Budget Submission.

CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams says:

“Postgraduate qualifications are clearly prized by employers, but the current lack of consistent income support for Australian postgraduate students makes life harder for this cohort.”

“The Education Minister claims to value employment outcomes highly, given his proposal to introduce performance-based funding for universities, but students do not feel valued when undertaking advanced qualifications that are not eligible for Austudy.”

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For comment: CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993
E: president@capa.edu.au