Ally is a second year education student at regional Newcastle University. She already has a $48,000 HECS debt and is worried she will have to drop out if the government pushes ahead with plans to deregulate uni fees and the cost of her course goes up.
Regional students like Ally would become significantly more isolated and have fewer opportunities if university fee deregulation was introduced, according to a study of rural and regional Year 12 students, parents and teachers done by Edith Cowan university.
Nearly 90% of students said if partial deregulation was introduced they would have to take a gap year to save money, or defer university to a later date.
92% of regional students interviewed barely knew anything about deregulation and, more disturbingly, neither did 60% of regional teachers.
The Impact Assessment of University-Fee Deregulation on Prospective Regional University Students report found that the isolation and lack of opportunity that currently exists for rural and regional students would be increased significantly if deregulation was introduced.
The Regional Universities Network has publicly come out against partial deregulation on behalf of the seven regional and remote universities it represents.
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.