Oops, they did it again?

In a media release from CAPA (Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations), we get the following gem:

“The minister has confirmed that funding cuts including a $173.7M cut to the Research Training Scheme (RTS) will go ahead. To compensate for the $173.7M cut in RTS funding… Australian universities will be able to charge a fee of up to $3900 pa to PhD and Masters Students.”

This news does not appear to have hit the mainstream media yet, but I’m sure some will have picked it up by the time we get home from work tonight.

Anyway, for those not familiar, a bit of background…

Most domestic (must be Australian or NZ citizen) Masters and PhD students studying in Australia are granted a tuition fee waiver by the government, funded through the Research Training Scheme (RTS). The government now want to start charging domestic students postgraduate research tuition (albeit, subsidized). However unlike undergrad study, for which we can get income contingent loans (HECS), that is not an option for postgraduate research, so we’d have to find that money out of our own pockets up front.

Australia wants to proclaim itself the “smart country”? How smart is it to disincentivize research by cutting funding to the RTS? Especially on top of existing cuts to the ARC and NH&MRC budgets? Especially in this financial climate when students no longer have the ability to go begging for industry funding (should they even be lucky enough to be studying in a field where that’s even an option).

This is short-sighted politics.

Ugh. I hate this government. Can someone just call a snap federal election for next weekend so we can vote these dipshits out?

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