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$500k bill for future medicine students

Protesters picket as police pepper sprayed students protesting university fee deregulation outside a meeting being addressed by Education Minister Christopher Pyne on February 13, 2015 at the Sydney Masonic Centre. Photo AAP Image/Newzulu/Peter Boyle

Protesters picket as police pepper sprayed students protesting university fee deregulation outside a meeting being addressed by Education Minister Christopher Pyne on February 13, 2015 at the Sydney Masonic Centre. Photo AAP Image/Newzulu/Peter Boyle

Canberra, AAP – Babies born this year who want to be doctors when they grow up could face a bill of more than $500,000 for their time at university, new modelling shows.

That price tag, in 2015 dollars, includes sharehouse rent paid during a six-year degree, university fees and other costs associated with studying like buying a computer and textbooks.

The Australian Scholarships Group, which released the modelling on Tuesday, says someone who starts a six-year medicine degree in 2033 and lives away from home will pay $508,546.

The cost is more than double what a medicine student in similar circumstances starting their degree this year would pay.

ASG calculates university fees would rise from $70,325 for the six years starting now to $177,620 (in 2015 dollars) for a medicine degree started in 2033.

A 2033 first year university student living at home would pay $267,875 over the lifetime of their degree.

But ASG chief executive John Velegrinis points out it’s not always possible for students to stay at home and reduce costs.

‘For students in regional Australia or those looking to travel interstate for further study, the financial impact is higher,’ he said.

‘They have to factor in the costs of accommodation as well as increased university fees.’

The group also looked at the cost of cheaper and shorter degrees.

It predicted students starting law or vet science in 2033 would pay more than $100,000 in university fees, while a four-year engineering degree would clock in at almost $96,000.

Mr Velegrinis said while the uncertain fate of government plans to deregulate fees made planning for education costs difficult, it was certain that both university fees and cost of living would be more expensive in the future.

Legislation to overhaul higher education, including deregulated fees, is before the Senate but is unlikely to be debated until mid-March.


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