Monday, 10 June 2013

Learning Loans

So as I am sure you are all aware, I'm a university student in Australia.  What a lot of you might be unaware of, is I'm not Australian myself. I was born in Canada and therefore I'm a citizen of Canada. This was fine and I have never had any problems being a Canadian citizen living in Australia... until now. Because I'm not an Australian citizen, I am required to pay my university fees up front. That's around 3000 dollars a semester. Being the poor writer/musician/student that I am, I can't afford to pay 3000 dollars a semester. So, I've started the process of getting my Australian citizenship (even though I've lived in Australia for 11 years). I am getting my citizenship  so I can borrow money from the government to pay my fees which I will repay at a later date. This might seem like a brilliant idea to a lot of people out there, but I disagree. Over a 3 year degree I will rake up a debt of close to 20,000 dollars to the government. To me, the price of wanting to further educate myself seems a little excessive. Yet, the government continues to cut university funding, which in turn rises the cost of our fees.

The budget of Australia's military is 50% more than that of Germany, France and Canada. And if you compare Australia to Iceland we are paying, on average for all the students, over 200% more than Iceland. To be fair, Australia isn't the worst when it comes to its spending priorities. In my opinion, the USA takes that prize. 25 % of the US budget goes to necessary spending (this includes medical, education,environmental  cots; you know all the things we would class as important) yet 19% is given to the defence secretary to spend on military needs!

I find it hard to fathom that in a world where importance is placed on the value of education and the opportunities education brings, we still don't have free higher education. If we were able to have a free (government funded) higher education system we might find that more people who have incredible minds but are at a financial disadvantage are able to reach their full potential. It's in my opinion all education should be free and treated as a fundamental right rather than an upper class commodity. 

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