Australian universities increase tuition fees for international students
International students enrolled in Australian universities now have another grim prospect to contend with: rising university fees. The fee hike has caused an uproar among the international student community in Australia, many of whom are still blocked abroad due to the delayed reopening of the borders following concerns about the Omicron variant.
For Bangladeshi student Sadman Arafat, the 6% increase in his undergraduate engineering tuition fees came as a shock. The Monash University student has never set foot in lecture halls and classrooms until now, attending classes at his family home in Dhaka, SBS News Reports.
âThe fees I pay for Monash come from my family’s savingsâ¦ the increase is like a slap in the face,â Arafat said. An undergraduate engineering degree for international students at monash costs around 192,000 Australian dollars over a four-year period.
Other Australian universities are also reportedly increasing their tuition fees.
SBS News said that in 2022, the University of Melbourne will increase its fees for students in line with its adjustment for 2020 – an average of 3.2%. The University of Sydney said their fees will increase for international students in 2022 by 3.8% on average.
Arafat’s case is just one of many cases highlighting the plight of international students who have been excluded from Australian borders. For many, the frustration over lack of support, mental health issues and delayed graduation plans doesn’t seem like fair trade after paying a hefty price for an Australian education.
Is the fee hike at Australian universities justifiable?
Amid this uproar, a new book argued that many Australian universities are undercharging international students. Associate Professor Salvatore Babones, a higher education commentator from the University of Sydney argues that fees should be increased to match the money Australian governments spend on the education of domestic students, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Dr Babones says international students should also pay fixed fees at universities, which are currently only covered by domestic fees. âThey should pay at least the same. They are in some universities. But in many universities, they pay a lot less. International students do not bear the total cost of their studies â, he was quoted saying.
The Managing Director of the International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, said The Sydney Morning Herald which tuition fees for international students were on average about three times that of a domestic student.
Monash students have expressed outrage at the university’s decision to increase tuition fees. “For two years, international students have not had the opportunity to study abroad in the literal sense of the word due to a lack of in-person experience,” said John Nguyen, President of International Student Services at Monash University.
In response to the report on Australian universities raising their fees, Australian Senator Mehreen Faruqi said on Twitter: âUniversities have relied on international student income to offset the cost of government funding cuts for too long. We are just failed international students with such exorbitant fees.
Another Twitter user expressed the opinion: âUniversities and the federal government continue to operate international students with exorbitant fees.
Earlier, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt had confirmed that Australia was “on track” to open its borders to international students and skilled workers on December 15. “This reopening is planned – will go ahead in consultation with the Prime Minister, the discussion of the National Cabinet and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer â, SBS News Reports.
To all our very patient students who are waiting to come to Australia, our Minister of Health has just clarified that everything is OK for arrivals after December 15th! pic.twitter.com/QTENUwz9x6
– Phil Honeywood (@PhilHoneywood) 12 December 2021
They don’t care about the anxiety and stress they are causing us visa holders and our families once again being treated like garbage. We are mentally exhausted. 2 years visa waiting expiring in 10 days and they delayed it again. At this point I don’t know what to do with myself #auspol https://t.co/rNzcth7t4c
– Saad Ahmad (@Shaddyahmed) November 29, 2021
While this is certainly a relief for many, the disruptive delay has proven to be expensive for many who had bought their plane tickets earlier. Australia has reported a drop in international enrollments due to its strict border policies, with many international students opt for a change of study destination after continued hiccups at their Australian study abroad experience.