Oppose changes to PR university fees
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We would like to express grave concerns regarding the hikes made to the tuition fee that PR holders and Kiwis have to pay, which start from Feb 2018 under the Higher Education policy proposed by Simon Birmingham. We believe that although access to HECS/HELP loan has been granted, it is far from sufficient to cover the newly incurred expenses which total up to almost three times the original amount.
The new policy would put significant pressure on families who have made important investments and life decisions based on the belief that they would be integrated into Australian society, following the university education. A sudden and unexpected change in financials will not only displace those families but also foster the feeling that they have been betrayed, humiliated, and swept aside by a government which values its budget more than its relationship with citizens. Most, if not all, PR holders have lived in Australia for a substantial time and developed significant connections with fellow citizens. Turning away or rejecting their family members from attending Australian universities by hiking the tuition fee is unreasonable and not in line with the traditional Australian values of welcomeness and acceptance.
I am a current student at University of Sydney pursuing a degree in Economics and Law. I was offered a place at University of Chicago but I turned down the offer and came to Usyd instead because I consider it to be an open, welcoming, and multicultural intellectual space that remains fundamentally different from the domain divided by entrenched and polarizing interests in the U.S. I am a Kiwi. Being offered the Commonwealth Supported Place convinced me that the Australian government genuinely values my attendance at Usyd, and invites me to make contributions to their society. I made my choice based on such considerations. During my study at Usyd, I was fortunate to meet many amazing and like-minded individuals, domestic/international/PR holders/Kiwis alike. Up until the new policy was announced, I believed in a future in Australia. A future of being treated as equals and being valued as an individual with desirable skills. It is for this future that I dedicate my work and efforts to the Australian people and their GDP.
With the new policy, I feel deeply wronged and offended. The hike in tuition fee was so monstrous that my family had to consider permanent settlement in New Zealand, as my brother who spent years of his high school training for the Australian entry is simply denied such opportunity on the basis of his lack of citizenship. Not only did I regret making a choice of coming to Usyd instead of Uchicago, I also had to convince my parents that Australia is not hostile, not stone-cold, not irresponsible for tricking them to come over and then withdrawing all the benefits. This has put me under significant mental strain, and as evident from the outcries of injustice and community attitudes, I could only venture to attest that this is the case for a lot of other people.
Hence we would seek a thorough evaluation of the new policy. After all, we believe that the universal values of acceptance and hospitality are still alive, that the government is ultimately reasonable, responsible, and considerate. University students represent the hope and the undaunted, quashing them and their families with mountains of debts will only drive the administration into a dead-end, where it loses both public support and strong economic performance.
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