Tertiary fees exclude women

Issue 

Tertiary fees exclude women

By Michael Tardif

Two studies released last week have further emphasised the likely impact of the federal government's push towards user pays tertiary education.

Universities have been able to charge fees for postgraduate course since 1989. In that time, the number of postgraduate fee-charging courses has ballooned to more than 1000. More than half the universities surveyed in the report — prepared by the Council of Australian Postgraduate Students and titled "Goodbye Rhyme and Reason" — indicated that they would increase the number of courses charging fees in 1995.

A Sydney Morning Herald-commissioned survey of NSW universities found that most fee-paying postgraduate students were already paying exorbitant prices for their courses. An average MBA course in NSW costs between $15,000 and $32,000.

The council report indicated that of those students already paying, 60% were doing business-related courses.

Women constitute more than half the students in courses not charging up-front fees only 35.7% in fee-charging postgraduate courses. The impact of fees was greater the higher the fees.

These statistics confirm that fees lock out important sections of the population from participation in higher education.

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