Reports that students are going hungry or dropping out because of the increasing costs of a university education shows the Government has its priorities all wrong, the Greens say.
“University should be a time where students learn about a particular field to help set them on their chosen career path, not where they learn how to survive in poverty,” Greens education spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“To see reports that one-in-seven students are skipping meals is a harrowing glance at just how much this Government has it in for young people.
“As the Government attempts to make life harder for graduates this week, by asking the senate to drastically reduce the HELP/HECs repayment threshold, students are going hungry or dropping out because simply being in university is not affordable. How long will students and young people be punished simply for wanting an education, and to get ahead?
“The cost a university education is not just the price tag on their degree or the bill for the text books. It is consigning students, many of them working increasingly longer hours at part time jobs, to poverty – all because they want to learn.
“The Government loves lecturing young people on how to get ahead in life – if you want to buy a house, get a better job. The fact is, if you want a better job, you need a university education. And young people shouldn’t be punished for wanting to get a foothold on their adult lives.
“University is an investment that benefits our whole society, not a budget burden. The Senate must reject the Government’s attacks on graduates today and work towards making life easier for students, rather than condemning them to poverty.”