The National Union of Students (NUS) and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) together condemn the Coalition and those crossbench senators who today conspired to rip money directly out of students’ wallets.

The Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability) Bill 2018 will force students and graduates to start paying back their student loans when they are earning barely above minimum wage, and will introduce a borrowing cap for Government-subsidised degrees. This will cause some students to pay up to tens of thousands of dollars upfront for their tuition fees.

The NUS and CAPA now call on the Labor Party to commit to reversing the damaging legislation should they form government at the next election.

The passage of the bill has occurred the same day as Universities Australia released damning statistics showing the level of student poverty.

Alarmingly, the bill gained support of the crossbench through the Government’s promotion of the baseless narrative of professional students. The crossbenchers have turned their back on the one in seven students who are so poor that they have to skip meals, and the one quarter of full-time students who regularly miss class because they have to work.

“This is yet another attack in the Liberals’ war on young people”, says president of the National Union of Students, Mark Pace. “Students are calling on Labor and the Greens to do the right thing, and make an election promise to reverse the crooked Bill.”

The implications of the bill have furthermore not been investigated by the Government, who prefer to peddle myths of students living lavishly rather than gathering any evidence.

“A report by the NUS and CAPA earlier this year found that, as a result of this borrowing cap, 30,000 Australians would be locked out of postgraduate study in the coming years unless they can afford tens of thousands of dollars upfront,” says president of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, Natasha Abrahams. “The Government has ignored this evidence, and has pushed through this legislation despite widespread outrage from students and the sector.”
Mark Pace National President | National Union of Students