The cost of studying humanities at university is set to double, but “job-relevant” course fees will be slashed under an overhaul of tertiary education to be announced by the Federal Government, ABC News reports.
Education Minister Dan Tehan also announced an extra 39,000 university places for Australian students will be funded by 2023.
Demand for 2021 is already soaring, with the estimated 20,000 year 12 students who usually defer university now less likely to take a gap year because of travel restrictions and the poor jobs market.
The rising unemployment rate is also driving demand — in a recession, many unemployed people typically turn to universities.
“We are facing the biggest employment challenge since the Great Depression,” Education Minister Dan Tehan is expected to say in a speech to the National Press Club today.
“And the biggest impact will be felt by young Australians. They are relying on us to give them the opportunity to succeed in the jobs of the future.”
Humanities students to pay as much as med students
The Government is using a carrot-and-stick approach to funnel students into the industries it believes will drive job growth.
Subjects in nursing, psychology, English, languages, teaching, agriculture, maths, science, health, environmental science and architecture will be cheaper. The Government will increase its contribution to the cost of these classes, so students can expect to pay between $3,700 and $7,700 per year.
However, students enrolling to study law and commerce will have fees raised by 28 per cent.
For humanities courses, fees will more than double, putting them alongside law and commerce in the highest price band of $14,500 a year.
Critics of Australian universities decry their increasingly business-oriented focus, and this policy shift will add to those concerns.