Labor Member for Watson Tony Burke today met with local university students to discuss their concerns the Abbott Government’s changes to higher education will signal the end of fair and affordable tertiary education in Australia.

Tony Abbott’s Budget cuts funding to universities, forces students to pay more for courses and breaks a Coalition promise not to increase the cost of a university education.

The changes remove the price cap on fees, allowing higher education institutions to increase the cost of getting a degree. At the same time student loans under the HECS Higher Education Loans Program (HELP) will be subject to higher interest rates, up to 6%.

Mr Burke said some university degrees could cost upwards of $100,000-$200,000 over time as a result of the Abbott Government’s unfair changes.

“We have situation where students will be forced to weigh up whether or not they can afford a tertiary education,” Mr Burke said.

“The only issue for someone wanting to get a degree should be their ability, not the size of their wallet.

“Be in no doubt, the effect that this will have on students in our part of Sydney will be devastating.

“It will mean skyrocketing student debt, especially for low and middle income earners, and put a university education out of reach for some students.

“This is an unfair budget where people least able to afford it are being forced to do the heavy lifting, it highlights the unfair priorities of this Liberal Government.”