Harsh Tafe fee hikes hit home

TAFE students are thinking about dropping out midway through courses as the reality of fee increases—some up to 400 per cent—hit home during enrolments this week.

Eighteen-year-old Joondalup resident Kimberley Beisley travels to the Central Institute of Technology in Northbridge, but says she might drop out because she can’t afford the second year of her advanced diploma of jewellery design.

“I can’t even afford to eat now, I have to go to my parents house,” Ms Beisley said.

The fee increase was announced in August 2013, with one of the justifications used by training minister Terry Redman being that higher fees would make students take their studies more seriously.

“That’s a pretty strong statement to make,” Ms Beisley told the Voice, annoyed. “I loved my course last year and took it so seriously,” she said.

Half-hearted decisions

But recently graduated Johnathon Ashcroft (26) said the higher fees would stop people from making half-hearted decisions.

“If you want to do something you’re going to put in the effort, but sometimes people feel very strongly going into something and then realise it’s not for them,” Mr Ashcroft told the Voice.

“It’s a lose-lose situation really because regardless its going to put a lot of pressure on people who choose to do a course now.”

WA president of the State School Teachers Union Pat Byrne says it is demeaning to say that increasing fees will make students take their studies more seriously.

“We interviewed 60 angry students last week and many of these students were accompanied by parents who told us that the fees were going to hit their family budgets hard,” Ms Byrne told the Voice.

“Students and their parents have no choice but to pay the higher fees if they want a job or a better future, and the Barnett government has underestimated the financial impact it will have on WA families.”

by CLARE KENYON 

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