Media Release: Student Finances Survey destroys myth of rich postgrads
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) calls on the Federal Government to provide financial relief to postgraduate students, as the Universities Australia Student Finances Survey reveals that students are experiencing extreme hardship.
According to the survey, one in seven students regularly go without food and other basic necessities. The measures students take to alleviate financial stress impact on their ability to succeed at university: one in four domestic postgraduate coursework students regularly miss class for work, and half report that their work commitments adversely impact their performance.
The release of the Student Finances Survey comes as the Federal Government prepares to make life even tougher for students, with legislation likely to pass today on implementing a lowered student loan repayment threshold and a borrowing cap.
CAPA calls on the Government to stop attacking students, in light of the alarming state of affairs revealed by the survey. Senators must reject the changes to HECS-HELP, which will see many students locked out of postgraduate study if they cannot afford up to tens of thousands of dollars upfront.
CAPA furthermore calls on the Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan, to allow all domestic postgraduate students to be eligible for Centrelink study payments, subject to means testing. The Student Finances Survey clearly shows that postgraduate students are struggling. The excuse that postgraduate students as a group are financially comfortable does not hold up against the data. Two thirds of domestic postgraduate coursework students – most of whom are barred from accessing Centrelink study payments, due to the myth of the rich postgraduate student – reported that their financial situation is often a cause of worry.
“This year we have seen funding ripped out of higher education and directly out of students’ pockets, while at the same time the Government is implementing $144 Billion worth of tax cuts for big business and the top end of town,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams.
“It is disgusting that one in seven students are so poor that they have to skip meals, yet the Government insists that students are living lavishly so they do not have to take action on this crisis.”
For comment: CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993