JCU student fee outrage
AN angry James Cook University veterinary student is taking her fight to Parliament House after government red tape means she will have to fork out more than $ 100,000 for her degree.
Samantha Parry, who still has 18 months left on her degree, was told this semester by the university she is only entitled to be covered by HECS for the rest of the semester.
Ms Parry s ai d current legislation entitles students to seven Student Learning Entitlements ( SLE), meaning they can be covered by HECS for seven years.
She said because she completed a science degree before moving into veterinary science in order to boost her marks, she was running out of entitlements, meaning she would now have to be a full fee-paying student and pay 25 per cent extra on her fees or defer.
Ms Parry said she wanted to warn other students who may be in similar situations and would be starting a petition to abolish the entitlements, which she will hand over to Herbert MP Ewen Jones to take to Canberra.
‘‘ I just want to get my degree completed so I can go out and be a fully qualified vet,’’ she said.
‘‘ This is certainly taking the focus off my studies.
‘‘ I feel that there are many students in my situation who don’t know about the SLE and the consequences for them financially as when you enrol in uni this isn’t mentioned.
‘‘ It is only bought to the foreground when your SLE is about to run out and in many cases that is too late.’’
Ms Jones said the last 18 months of her degree would end up costing her about $ 60,000, with the cost of each remaining subject rising from $ 6000 to $ 16,000 and also attracting 25 per cent more interest to defer her payments, bringing the total cost o f her e nt i r e d e g r e e t o $ 107,500.
Mr Jones said he would be happy to take up the issue in parliament, even trying to contact Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne last night for advice to pass on to Ms Parry.
‘‘ I think it’s every person’s right to protest over something like that,’’ he said.
‘‘ It’s not an unusual thing that she’s doing – a lot of people start off with a science degree to become doctors and vets.
‘‘ It’s not as if she’s wasted her time, so I’ll gladly take her petition.’’