SCU students ready to rise over cuts and fee hikes
STUDENTS of Southern Cross University are growing restless.
A national campaign against proposed federal government budget cuts to higher education is gaining momentum with SCU likely to be among the hardest hit.
Barbara Kinder is president of the Southern Cross Postgraduate Association which represents more than 3000 postgraduate students and has reacted to news the Senate will consider a bill to drastically cut funding.
"This Bill seeks to rip $2.8 billion from universities,” she said.
"It is expected to lift student fees, lower and backdate the HECS repayment threshold and introduce fees for tertiary preparation courses aimed at indigenous and other disadvantaged students.
"The proposed budget cuts will hit small regional universities such as SCU particularly hard.”
Ms Kinder said many SCU students are single parents or the children of single parents.
"Many of our students are the first person in their entire family ever to enter university.
"Others never completed high school, let alone achieved a high university entrance grade.
"The ultimate fate of the Bill lies in the hands of just a few cross bench senators and we know writing to them can make a real difference.
"So our campaign is calling on all students, former students and aspiring students to write to each cross bench senator, urging them to vote against the bill.
"The proposed changes will significantly impact students, teaching, staffing levels and support services at SCU, one of the largest employers in the north coast region.
"They will discourage study in the most critical employment roles in regional Australia, including nursing, teaching, social work, health, science and engineering.
"Underpinning the bill seems to be an assumption that university education is simply a matter of private benefit at public expense.
"Regional communities like ours understand that our education is our future, our workforce and the foundation of regional sustainability.”