Impact assessment of university fees deregulation on prospective regional university students in Western Australia
International Association for Impact Assessment
Place of Publication
Harashina, S. et al.
School of Arts and Humanities
Since 2014, deregulation of fees in universities has become a topical issue in Australian public discourse. As an untested policy in the country, the arguments for and against it suggest a lack of sound empirical basis for gauging how university-fee deregulation will affect different student cohorts. This paper presents a qualitative study of three regional localities in Western Australia (WA) and reveals that knowledge of the proposed deregulation of fees in Australian universities is low among students, teachers and parents who participated in the research. The study also found that research participants were concerned that fee deregulation in Australian universities might lead to fee increases. If this were to happen without commensurate social-support policies, most of the student respondents indicated they: (1) feared being left with unusually high student debt, (2) might reconsider accessing higher educational altogether, and/or (3) would access higher education as mature-age students due to having to take gap years to work and save.