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Poll: Australians oppose Abbott's elitist agenda for higher education

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 2 Jul 2014

Independent polling commissioned by the Greens confirms that the Coalition Government's elitist changes to higher education are opposed by an overwhelming majority of the community.

“People of all ages from across Australia in regional and metropolitan areas know how damaging these changes are to students and to Australia’s economy,” said Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon.

“Two thirds of people polled opposed plans to remove the fee cap and allow universities to set their own fees and increase interest rates on HELP debts.

“Almost two thirds oppose plans to give private, for-profit education providers access to the same federal government funding as public universities

“I have met with a number of students, staff and some Vice Chancellors who have told me just how alarmed they are with the Coalition’s regressive and cruel cuts to higher education.

“Overwhelmingly, Australians are opposed to the Coalition’s plans to increase student fees and charge higher interest rates on student debt all to fund public subsidies to private, for-profit education companies.

“These changes if adopted would take Australia towards a US style higher education system. They  are unfair on students, staff and those thinking about enrolling in a degree.

“This polling further highlights why the Coalition’s plans for higher education should be scrapped,” said Lee Rhiannon.

The polling methodology and results are available here:  http://bit.ly/1m31VRD

A summary of the polling results are as follows:

  • More than two thirds of Australians (65%) oppose plans to deregulate university fees
  • More than two thirds of Australians (69%) oppose the cuts to university places
  • Two thirds of Australians (66%) oppose increasing interest rates on HELP debts
  • Almost two thirds (63%) oppose plans to give private, for-profit education providers the same access to funding as public universities
  • Four in five Australians (80%) agree that increasing the cost of degrees will make it harder for students who are less wealthy to go to university
  • Almost four in five Australians (78%) agree that Australia is headed towards a US-style system for higher education
  • Almost four in five Australians (78%) agree that deregulating university fees will lead to a dramatic increase in the cost of degrees
  • Three in four Australians (75%) agree that the federal budget announced in May is unfair.

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