STEM Degrees Just Became Cheaper In Australia, Humanities Double In Price

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Image: University of Queensland

On Friday the Australian government will announce a complete overhaul of university degree pricing. While some courses will decrease, others will see a significant jump. Humanities will be hit hardest with a 113 per cent increase.

According to The Guardian, education minister Dan Tehan will make this announcement to the National Press Club later today.

Commerce and law will also be negatively impacted by these changes. Both degrees will now cost 28 per cent more.

It seems this change is being made in an effort to funnel more students towards “job-relevant” degrees. While humanities will be slashed, some STEM subjects will become significantly cheaper for new students.

Agriculture and maths degrees will see a 62 per cent decrease under the new policy. Science, engineering, IT, health and environmental science subjects will now cost 20 per cent less.

There is also a big push towards teaching, English, language, nursing and clinical psychology courses — all of which are getting a 46 per cent decrease in costs.

There will be no changes for new students going into medicine or dental degrees.

According to Tehan, 60 per cent of new students will either a decrease or no changes to their future degrees.

Employment growth in certain fields is said to be cited in Tehan’s speech. The minister will state that science, technology, healthcare, education and construction are expected to account for 62 per cent of this growth over the next 5 years.

“It’s common sense. If Australia needs more educators, more health professionals and more engineers then we should incentivise students to pursue those careers,” Tehan’s speech says.

“This does not mean fee deregulation. This does not mean $100,000 degrees.”

These price changes also seem to be in response to increased demand for higher education opportunities in the wake of COVID-19.

According to The Guardian, 154,000 year 12 students will be looking for university placements in 2021. In 2019 the number sat at 133,000.

Apparently the new fees will charged at a course level, as opposed to a degree level. So the government is encouraging students to avoid costs by considering mixing up their studies.

“We are encouraging students to embrace diversity and not think about their education as a siloed degree,” Tehan’s speech says.

“So if you want to study history, also think about studying English. If you want to study philosophy, also think about studying a language. If you want to study law, also think about studying IT.”

While these changes are said to be effective immediately, they will not impact current students. Their course pricing will be grandfathered.