Students worried

SWEEPING CHANGES: Tony Abbott in Canberra on Wednesday morning.

SWEEPING CHANGES: Tony Abbott in Canberra on Wednesday morning.

LA TROBE University staff are looking into Federal Budget papers amid concern over the budget’s impact on students.

The government will allow universities to set their own course fees, with caps on course costs to be removed by 2016.

People under 30 will be forced to wait six months to access Newstart, after which they will have to work for the dole, with eligibility raising from age 22 to 25.

Restrictions around Youth Allowance will also be tightened.

A La Trobe University spokesman said the university changes were the “most comprehensive package of reforms to higher education seen in a generation”.

“We are still working through the details of what has been announced and what it means for La Trobe University,” he said.

Bendigo student and Labor member Kim Parker, 23, said she feared the impact of the changes.

“A lot of people are pretty concerned and pretty angry to be honest,” she said.  

“It’s just making it more difficult for younger people to get higher education. It’s hard enough in regional areas as it is.”

The former Gillard government also made cuts to the sector when in power.

National Tertiary Education Union La Trobe branch president Virginia Mansel Lees said the changes could push people away from higher education.

“It’s going to mean people making decisions about whether they will go to university or not,” she said.

“We’ll end up with people saying they can’t afford that, or can only afford to go to a particular place and pay a certain amount a week.”

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters will meet local students and staff on Monday. 

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