'Either way it'll be a struggle': Students fear uni changes
BUDDING software developer Abbey Van De Vorst is highly intelligent, ambitious and concerned about her future.
The 16-year-old Mountain Creek State High School student is in Year 12 and plans to go to university next year.
Her dream is to study a science degree with a major in computer science and one day work in software development and systems design.
She's one of only 40 in the International Baccalaureate program, a pre-university curriculum which will increase her opportunities to study abroad.
But Abbey was concerned after hearing the Federal Government plans to increase university fees and reduce the minimum income required to trigger her HECS debt repayments.
She was expecting to shift to Brisbane to study at some point, as she'd also like to do her Masters degree, but said it would make life tough trying to pay off university debts while living in a city, especially in her first job, with the increased cost of living.
"I'll definitely go to uni either way, but maybe I won't stay in Brisbane," she said.
Abbey said she may end up doing a slightly different course to stay closer to home, but increased course costs would make it tough too.
"Either way it's going to be a bit of a struggle," she said.
Abbey is the oldest child in her family, and she's working part-time at the moment, saving as much as she can to help pay for her degree, as she expected to be at university for about five-and-a-half years.
University of the Sunshine Coast Student Guild president Matthew McClelland feared the changes may push the burden of higher education onto students' parents.
"I think if it did go through, I think it would definitely impact people's prospects of attending university," he said.
Mr McClelland said his personal view was that the changes would be blocked by the Senate, as it would be seen as "a bit of an attack" on young, low income-earning students.
"It's not really a solution," he said.