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Saturday, 06 September 2008
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Peak student body focuses on the Federal Election.

The National Union of Students (NUS) announced today that it’s demand a better future campaign would be focusing on Higher Education in the lead up to the upcoming Federal election. The NUS has stated that they would be campaigning on four key issues. The Nus will be encouraging all parties to support.

  • No Full Fees
  • No HECS increases
  • No Student Poverty
  • No VSU

 Uni students demand a better future.

The National Union of Students (NUS) have declared that a national day of action will be held on May the 2nd to protest the federal government’s refusal to support university students. The day of action will be apart of the wider “Demand a Better Future” campaign.

NUS claim that since 1995 the federal government has reduced funding to tertiary education by 7%. This represents a decrease of $1550 for each and every university student.


Students struggling financially.

The Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (AVCC) has released a  report into the status of Australian university student’s finances during 2006. The report is based on the national survey of students conducted recently in Australia’s 37 public universities.

The report found that generally university students are poorer than they were in the year 2000,  and that this is adversely affecting their capacity to study effectively.

Interest in activist organisations surging.

Leftwing and Antiwar groups are reporting that Australian University students have been joining their organisations in record numbers. Some activist groups are reporting that the number of students seeking to join has risen by at least twenty five percent since last year.

The rising interest in leftist and antiwar groups is directly attributed to the length of the American led war in Iraq and the unacceptably high rate of civilian casualties in that region. The antiwar and leftist groups are actively encouraging students to express their outrage at the war and the capitalist system which underpins it. Students are responding eagerly top these calls. Recently in Sydney students were active in confronting US Vice-President Dick Cheney when he briefly visited the city.

Number of international students studying in Australia rising.

The Federal government has released figures which show that the number of international students studying in Australian education institutions has risen by almost 40 thousand students or about 11%. Asia is the main source of international students with over one fifth of students all international students arriving from China. The majority of international students are studying at tertiary level at universities such as Flinders University.


University Students Squeezed out of Rental Accommodation.

Across Australia the cost of rental accommodation has been rising dramatically over the last 6 months. In some areas the average cost of rental accommodation has risen by over 50%. Although Adelaide has significantly lower living costs than the eastern states it has not been insulated from the rises.

National Union of Students welcomes Rudd’s revolution.

The national peak student body has welcome Kevin Rudd’s promise of a “revolution in education”. National Union of Students president, Michael Nguyen, stated “It is good to see the Australian Labor Party prioritising education… …the National Union of Students supports the ALP’s pledge to increase funding to the sector and awaits to see the details of the policy.”


Federal Government challenged to be honest with students.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has challenged the federal government to be honest with students and reveal the exact amount that students contribute towards the cost of degrees. It is commonly claimed by the Howard government that students are only paying about 25 per cent of the cost of a degree.

Struggling students will have to rely on charity

Universities around Australia are being forced to discontinue funding grants and subsidies to student who are struggling financially. The passage of VSU has wiped out many services for students. Emergency interest free loans and textbook subsidies are the latest to go. Students seeking help will now be directed to community and faith based charity organisations such as the Salvation Army. Students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and remote areas were previously the highest users of financial help and will undoubtedly be the hardest hit by the changes.


Students could pay more for education, physiotherapy and nursing degrees.

Australian vice-chancellors have stated that the federal government should either increase the amount of federal funding to universities or allow universities to charge students in education, physiotherapy and nursing degrees more.

Previously the government allowed universities to increase the fees they charged students by 25 percent. This increase did not apply to education, physiotherapy and nursing degrees they were deemed a national priority. The Australian vice-chancellors have emphasised that unequal distribution of government funding between different degrees has created a fiscal black hole in some disciplines and is forcing them to increase the burden on students.   


Kevin Rudd offers better support to University Students

The new Labor leader Kevin Rudd, has identified the level of national HECS debts as “out of control”. He accuses the Howard government of going backwards in  inverting in Australia’s educational future. Rudd confirmed that he would be soon releasing policy that would see a significant boost to the income support available to university students and a reduction to the burden of HECS debts.

Rudd claims that these changes would enable Australia to become “the best educated country in the world”, an achievement that would increase equality and improve the economy.

Federal government recognises Flinders’ teaching excellence.

The Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop MP, has announced that Flinders University will be amongst 21 Universities across Australia to share the sum of $83 million from the 2007 Learning and Teaching Performance Fund. Flinders was recognized for it’s excellence in teaching in humanities, arts and education.


Demand for Australian University places increases.

206,099 people have applied to study at public universities in 2007. This represents a 1.8% nationwide increase in demand from last year. South Australian and Northern Territory Universities experienced a 4.2% increase in demand for their courses.

American University provides free education to those who need it.

Arizona State University has announced that it will fully fund the US$13,000 annual cost of room, board, and tuition for students whose families earn less than US$25,000 per year. In providing this commitment to educate and advance students regardless of social background or ability to pay the Arizona State University is displaying an example that other higher education facilities should follow.


Flinders' Professor named 2006 Australian Uni Teacher of the Year

Professor Iain Hay, Head of the School of Geography, Population and Environmental Management at Flinders University has been announced as the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for the Australian University Teacher of the Year.


New Medical Degree offered 

The University of Western Sydney’s School of Medicine has received approval for a new medical programme. A $48 million grant was provided by the Australian government to support the new five-year Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery degree. The programme will initially provide 80 Commonwealth-supported places in 2007, however this number will grow to 400 by 2011
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