The Australian Law Students’ Association (ALSA) today called on the Federal Government to increase its financial support to university students.
In response to comments made by Vice-Chancellor of the ANU, Professor Ian Chubb on AM yesterday, Vice President (Education), Mitch Riley, said “the Youth Allowance system is long overdue for reform. It penalises students who earn over $236 a fortnight by docking up to 70% in the dollar off their Youth Allowance, plus taxing the income they earn. This means that some students face an effective marginal tax rate of 85%.
“The amounts offered under the Youth Allowance scheme are inadequate for students to fund the cost of living and the cost of their education. As a result, it is a necessity for students to work on top of their full-time university commitments just to make ends meet. However, the Youth Allowance system punishes them for doing so,” Mr Riley said.
“If we want students to be able to perform well at university, we need to ensure that they are not forced to sacrifice study time to make up for a shortfall in Government income support.”
ALSA praised Education Minister Julia Gillard’s reaffirmation of the Government’s commitment to remove full-fee places on AM yesterday, but warned that universities must be adequately compensated for the loss of revenue.
“Full-fee double degrees with law are now exceeding $100 000 at a number of universities around the country.
“This leaves students with a tremendous debt, and greatly restricts their future career choices to high-paying jobs that will allow them to repay their loan.”
Vice President (Education)
0403 781 992