Your article, `Fewer Deferring: Principal’, refers to the reported concerns by the Ballarat Grammar School and its students in regards to fee uncertainty, as a result of the higher education reforms.
While I empathise with the school, it is the very reason why it’s so important the reforms are passed, to provide the certainty students need to make their choice of higher education.
I also urge year 12 students to keep an open mind on the many opportunities these reforms will offer including greater competition among universities and alike, meaning greater choice for them.
The reforms, by extending support to sub-bachelor courses and to private providers, will also open up many new pathways for students to access a higher education that suits their circumstances and needs. This will benefit regional students, disadvantaged and mature-age students who live in Ballarat and other regions, and also puts a quality education within reach for those with low ATAR scores, ensuring a great start to their working life.
These opportunities are complemented with the provision of Commonwealth Scholarships and the removal of HELP loan fees, while noting no student has to pay up-front for their education until they are working and earning a decent income. This will help ease the cost burden that regional students often face especially when relocating to study.
It is disappointing student unions are choosing to deny students these facts and prefer to deliberately mislead them as part of a Labor-Greens-union led scare campaign. It would be more constructive of student unions to lobby Labor and Greens senators to do the right thing by them and their peers and support these reforms which will ensure access to a quality education for all, and excellence in research.
The higher education sector overwhelmingly support the reforms. It’s time for the unions, Labor and the Greens to come out from the wilderness and join them.
Senator Bridget McKenzie
Nationals Senator for Victoria
Chair of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee