Photo © 2005 AP via AAP/Joerg Sarbach
A federal-government funded think tank has suggested that university students should pay more for their courses because of the above-average salaries they receive after graduating.
Because we all know how many nurses live in mansions, right?
But perhaps the cynicism should be put back in its box for a moment. The proposal includes subsidies for students whose profession is likely to lead to public benefit.
Theoretically, that means the nurses and teachers are still subsidised, while budding software engineers and corporate lawyers are left to pay their own way.
The Grattan Institute says that higher education tuition subsidies will cost taxpayers $7 billion by 2015, and be a burden to those who haven't undertaken further studies.
The think tank's higher education program director, Andrew Norton, says university and tertiary education students should therefore pay more for their courses.
"Graduates do well out of higher education. They have attractive jobs, above-average pay and status. They take interesting courses and enjoy student life," Mr Norton said in a statement.
"Tuition subsidies therefore merely redistribute income to students and graduates.
"The general public, particularly those who do not go to university, are worse off."
Mr Norton said university and vocational students would study regardless of the size of their subsidy, given they could defer repaying their student loan through a Higher Education Loan Program.
He proposed a model whereby tertiary education is only subsidised if a public benefit could be proven.
"For example, a public health course whose graduates produce clear public benefits should be subsidised if it would not otherwise attract enough students," Mr Norton said.
"But a law course should not be subsidised when students, perceiving a large private benefit, would have taken it anyway."
Mr Norton said a "carefully managed" reduction in tuition subsidies could save taxpayers about $3 billion by the 2016/17 financial year.
The Grattan Institute is funded by the federal and Victorian governments, the University of Melbourne and mining giant BHP Billiton.
What do you think? Should uni students pay more if they’re going to rake it in when they graduate? Will your Arts major in Witchcraft & Demonology in Early Modern Europe provide enough public benefit to deserve subsidy? Would you be less inclined to study if you had to pay more for it later? Log in below and have your say!
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