Fact sheet

Fact Check: Do Australian taxpayers subsidise over half the cost of each student's higher education?

Liberal Party of Australia Higher education Educational finance
During his 2017 federal budget speech, Treasurer Scott Morrison told the House of Representatives that "in higher education, we are launching a fairer system, with students asked to pay a bit more for their own education costs". He then said: "However taxpayers will continue to subsidise more than half the cost of each student's higher education." Do taxpayers currently subsidise over half the cost of each student's higher education? RMIT ABC Fact Check found Mr Morrison is incorrect. Undergraduate students in law, business and economics pay over 80 per cent of their course fees. Most postgraduate students pay their full course fees, as do most students enrolled at non-university higher education institutions. And there is more to the cost of higher education than course fees. Looking only at domestic undergraduate students at public universities, the Government would be justified in saying it subsidises more than half the fees per student on average. In addition, the taxpayer contribution to average costs includes carrying HECS or HELP loans from the Government that are not repaid by students. But it cannot be said that the Government subsidises more than half "the cost" of "each student's" higher education.
Verdict: Incorrect
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