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International students escape fee changes

UNIVERSITIES around Victoria have stated international students will not be affected by the proposed deregulation to Australia’s higher education system. Darren Boon reports.

The Menzies Building in Monash University’s Clayton Campus. Image supplied.

Victoria universities issued assurance that the Commonwealth Government’s budget announcement on changes to Australia’s higher education system would not impact international students’ fees.

These universities include the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University, and La Trobe University.

Some universities stated that the approach for setting school fees for international students will remain unchanged.

In an email sent out to Monash University’s estimated 20,000 international students on June 23, Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Ed Byrne said that the Federal Government’s proposed changes to the higher education system would affect Australian students.

These changes include the deregulation of tuition fees, reduction of funding for local students and changes to student loans.

Prof Byrne said in the statement, “I wish to assure you that these changes proposed by the Government do not affect international students and will not impact international student fees or the quality of your experience and outcome of your education with us.”

He added that the university’s “current process for determining international student fees will remain unchanged”.

A spokesperson from Monash University told Meld that fee reviews are conducted annually on a course by course basis in collaboration with the various faculties and the student recruitment team. Factors considered include the school’s “cost pressures, course value propositions, student demand and market pressures”.

The spokesperson added that the Federal Government’s changes, if passed in parliament, could reduce funding to the University. However, Monash University “will continue to provide first education to our students and will not compromise our quality of teaching and students’ educational outcomes”.

Swinburne University of Technology issued a press release on May 23 stating: “We will work through the detail of the proposed changes, but we do not anticipate that this change will have any impact on the fees we set for international students.”

The University’s 2015 international course fees have been determined, the notice added.

Victoria University said on its website that annual increases to international student fees at about less than five percent per annum will not be changed.

The University of Melbourne told Meld,“The Federal Government’s proposed deregulation of fees relates to domestic student fees and will not directly affect international students as these fees are not set by government in the same way domestic fees are.”

The statement added that any changes in course fees remain uncertain at the present due to the lack of relevant details. The university cautioned that the Federal Government’s reforms might possibly be blocked by politicians.

However, students are concerned about public funding cuts to the higher education sector on announced in recent years’ budgets, the statement added.

The Study Melbourne website has also stated that, “The proposed deregulation of university fees remains subject to new laws being passed by the Australian Parliament and would only apply to domestic Australian students.”

Meanwhile the University of Queensland told Meld that the University had not “issued any message to our international students about the changes in higher education and at this stage, we are not planning to”.

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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