The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today congratulated the more than 60 000 Victorian students who have received a main round offer at a university and called on the Opposition to pass legislation in the Senate that would given many of them brand new scholarships.
Ms Gillard said that university is a fantastic experience for young people and that she hopes all those who take up their offers after years of hard work at school make the most of their time studying.
She said students should be rightly proud of their achievement and she hopes the Government will be able to pay those that need it most the new scholarships.
The Government has proposed changes to the Youth Allowance system that would see more than 150 000 new $2254 Start-up Scholarships ($1434 in 2010) offered to students across the country, with more than 100 000 students better off under the proposed changes.
The Liberal and National Parties have blocked the changes in the Senate because they want to keep a system that saw the number of kids going to uni from rural and regional areas actually fall when they were in government.
The Liberals and Nationals consistently warred with students when in Government and now want to continue punishing those less well off from Opposition.
Every State and Territory Education Minister, every university group, the Australian Greens, Senator Xenophon, the National Union of Students and every independent Member and Senator in Federal Parliament except for Senator Fielding have urged the Opposition to pass the changes in the Senate.
Instead, the Liberal and National parties want to continue the practice of letting students with parental incomes of more than $150 000 receive Youth Allowance, even though they are living at home.
Key elements of the proposed Labor changes include:
- All students (around 150 000) who receive Youth Allowance will receive a$2254 start up scholarship every year ($1434 in 2010).
- Theparental income test will be raised so that families with two children studying away from home can earn more than $140 000 before their allowance is cut completely.
- Students who choose to move to study may be eligible for an additionalrelocation scholarship, worth $4000, in the first year of study and $1000 each subsequent year.
- From 1 July 2012,students will be able to earn $400 a fortnight (up from $236) without having their payments reduced.
- Theage of independence will reduce progressively from 25 years to 22 years by 2012, which will see an estimated 7600 new recipients of the independent rate of allowance.