University course price changes from 2021


Radical change to university incentives has been needed for some time. And here it is! (Announced 19 June 2020)

But what a year for school-leavers! The first to graduate with an ATAR in Queensland. Learning and assessments disrupted by Covid. And now, with QTAC preference selection well underway, a university course price shake-up due to start next year has thrown a spanner into the henhouse!

Students need to carefully reconsider their plans beyond school in light of today’s Government announcement.


Competition for uni places

The proposed adjustment of university course prices means all students should take stock, but especially current Year 11s and 12s. ATAR competition for uni places seems high this year, with many students cancelling gap year plans, and many newly unemployed people taking the ‘opportunity’ to study.

This is not a good year to enter the job market from school, with youth unemployment currently up to 16% and rising. Thankfully, an extra 20,000 domestic student places have been funded to offset some of the fall in international student enrolments.

If the Government plans pass, there will be a huge reshuffle in the costs to students of their uni courses from 2021. These adjustments to subsidies would mean students choosing courses wisely can have better job prospects while keeping more money in their pockets.

Paying less for a degree in a higher-growth industry could save students up to 75% in fees, leaving themselves with $32,000 dollars to spare after a three-year degree. That and more chance of a higher paying job.

Which degrees will cost more or less?

As a way to increase graduate numbers in Maths, Agriculture, Teaching, Psychology, English, Nursing and Languages, these subjects will be cut to around half price. Industries in which we have an over-supply of graduates will more than double in price – Humanities, Society and culture, Communications, and Behavioural Science.

Other changes are significant but less extreme: students entering IT, Engineering, Science, Allied Health, and Architecture will get their education 21% cheaper. On the other hand, Creative Arts, Law, Economics, Management and Commerce students will pay up to 28% more.

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Creative Arts would see little or no change.

None of the uni course price increases will apply for students already studying when the changes take effect. However, price decreases will apply for students in those courses.

Also worth noting is that even students studying more expensive degrees can decrease their costs substantially by choosing electives in the promoted areas.

Aim for a wise uni degree

At ELC Mooloolaba, we have long supported the idea of building capabilities in the areas of high future job growth. We’ve been telling our students this for years on an individual level. This change would further increase the value to students of studying a higher level of maths during their QCE. Mathematical Methods is our preference over General or Essential Maths. That and at least one science subject.

Humanities subjects are of course valuable to society, and this will be an extremely unfortunate deterrent for some from entering the field. But currently we have a glut of humanities graduates with not enough jobs to go around. On the other hand, we’ve been crying out for technically-trained graduates for years, and the demand should continue growing.

To reach senior school with the right mindset to choose Maths Methods, students need to see the importance of maths and science from early on, to enjoy it, and to not be ‘turned off’ by negative experiences through early schooling. Schools stream students by ability from early on, often without students and parents realising the consequences for Year 11 and 12, and beyond.

And that’s why, rather than loose ourselves in catch-up tutoring for current school content, we put great efforts into progressing our students ahead of their school maths curriculum. So that they see these important topics with us first. And we can instil not only the content, but positivity and confidence along with it.


Feel free to talk to us if you need to discuss your child’s future and what they can do today to get there.

Call 54781172, email principal@elc.net.au or contact us here.

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About the Author: Dan Blore
Dan Blore manages and teaches at Extended Learning Centres. He has spent 15 years in education, having studied secondary education at University of the Sunshine Coast. He has taught in Australia and Germany and studied at university in Italy. He most enjoys teaching and studying mathematics and languages, both of which he focused on at university.

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