International students demand tuition fee cuts

With Australia’s education industry already under pressure from a sharp drop in international student enrolments amid the coronavirus, those students that did manage to enrol are now pressuring universities to slash tuition fees because of having to shift to online learning:

For Vietnamese international student Loan*, who is studying at the University of Sydney, she says she wants to go home but the university suggests she does not leave at this time due to the current travel ban…

Loan is pleased that classes have been moved online in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, but she says the university should reassess the cost of the steep tuition fees as a result.

“One thing they need to improve on is the tuition fee, we pay lots of money for one semester. We only study online now which is unfair.”

Questions over fees

Iris* is from Italy and has begun a campaign petitioning for the University of Sydney to give international students a rebate on their tuition fees. She says the university has handled the crisis management well but is angry international students like her will not receive a rebate of any kind.

“Students stranded in China have been offered discounts to study online. Since we are all shifting online now shouldn’t we get a similar discount?” she said.

“Many students will be homeless and jobless this semester, surviving on couch-surfing and extra help from parents to not starve, and the university does not do anything. They do not deserve so much investment from our side. It is nearly $50,000 per year.”

The petition has attracted more than 500 signatures…

In a statement provided to SBS News, a spokesperson for the University of Sydney said: “We’re not currently planning to lower our fees. We’re determined to maintain our focus on a quality experience for all our students and are working hard to ensure we can continue to safely conduct quality teaching and research during these complex times.”

Since when has “a quality experience” been high on the universities’ agenda? They are interested in one thing and one thing only with respect to international students: money.

The are a cash cows primed for milking and the universities will not give up the rivers of gold without offering stiff resistance.

Leith van Onselen


  1. Well the issue here is, if it were quality that determined the fees, then why different fees for chinese students in china and those that have to hike it all the way to aus and then be quarantined in an overpriced hostel or apartment to do it online anyway?
    Cant get that local job now, so that leaves the “free medicare” and “beaches and fresh air”.. maybe it wasnt such a good deal after all.

    • Coup de Whiskey

      You’ve hit the nail on the head!
      They can’t afford the high fees because they can’t get a job. Send them home.

    • billygoatMEMBER

      Can’t they go back to where they came from & do the course on line? Everyone is in school, uni & workplace being primed to work from home. Feels like Y2K all over again. When did ZOOM pop out of the woodwork and into everyone’s homes / bedrooms etc??

      • But then they don’t spend in the local economy and Harry Highrise doesn’t benefit — it’s all about the property magnates. They run policy in this country.

  2. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Honestly, just seems like an article softening up the taxpaying slaves to announce how much these ‘students’ are about to cost us in welfare and medicare access. Glad to see the ever responsible universities encouraging them not to take the opportunity to go home. Just don’t ask why international ‘students’ should possibly need welfare at all, since they are (ostensibly) here to study and not work in the first place. Shouldn’t their living costs already be covered in advance? Ooops, crisis reveals this particular scam in all its glory.

    • The students are a menace as they may not have the same protective instinct as the rump of the population.

      Let me explain:

      If you are a relatively young immigrant (or foreign student) and grandma is holed up back in Kathmandu why give a damn about precautionary measures?. You are unlikely to be gravely affected and you can’t kill your own granny either.

      Our immigration and student visa programs have created a massive moral hazard that threatens the rest of the population.

  3. This is why the vice chancellors are paid the big bucks. To prevent our valuable exports from fleeing back home.
    Caught up in the pincer movement, the international students can no longer escape after previously being lured here on the pretence of free flights and handouts. This is what education is all about. They should be grateful for their rogering.

  4. Can confirm that a number of Australian Born & Raised & educated students have actually twigged to “why the f?vK” are we paying such high HECS/HELP fees & “student union facility fees” when we are actually not there? They have expressed that we should pay a HECS/HELP fee but should be less & they should pay zero for the union facility fee. The facility fees are all coming out this week which is awesome timing. I suggested that they begin a group of aggrieved “Aus” students & push back against the Uni & the VC & then the Govnt. Didn’t actually go over that well, but must admit it that there was more traction for a “rebellion” than I was expecting. I reckon these kids might start to bubble up & begin some change. There is a little bit of anger in them which I was surprised by. I just think they need some guidance or maybe that happens in the next 6 months by default. TBH 90% of the one’s we know have lost their jobs & now have zip to survive on. But you know what, the Unis are still more worried about the fuc??ng O/Seas students.

  5. Do The Australia students get a fee cut too? Cause my daughter has racked up a sizeable debt in one of these fine institutions …with multiple choice questions as the exam..its unbelievable the dumbing down of these places!

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      I’ve always had a problem resisting ticking the most ridiculous incorrect answers on those Multiple choice tests.
      Just for the fun of it.

      • Career Selection Guide

        From the available options choose what interests you most:

        A) Flying an aeroplane
        B) Healing sick people
        C) Inventing/creating new devices
        D) Digging a hole to uncover human waste

      • billygoatMEMBER

        Gotta be a pi $$ take and #faaaaake knewes that escaped gullibility of msm Journo wantingvto firstvwith a ‘story’ …. site sounds like story ie made up tale

  6. Grand sale, grand sale, grand sale – all tuition fees must be slashed. Out they go. Make us an offer. Honest Phil is cutting thousands of all courses at never to be repeated prices in Phil Honeywood’s Tertiary Education Fire Sale of the Century. Down they go!

    Accounting, out the door at 50% off!
    Law, down, down to 40%.
    Engineering – make us an offer!
    Science – free to a good home.
    Engrish – bargain basement prices.

    We won’t be beaten on price (quality maybe).

    Honest Phil will throw in a free certificate of Engrish Flooency from Murdoch University with every degree purchased at the Australian Tertiary Education Export Industry’s Pandemic Disease Fire Sale!

    At these prices Australian grandparents won’t last long, so hurry on down to your nearest IDP office and well help you get around the health regulations. Early clients will be entered into a prize for a romantic cruise on the Diamond Princess.

  7. Discounts? Why not? Looks like no more group assignments with local kids doing all the heavy lifting. Our disease bringers gotta do all those assignment themselves …..

  8. Reverse Transcriptase

    We all know that the end goal for these students is PR. Why they give a damn about the quality of the course beggars belief. I think they are sharp enough to realise that:

    (a) there is a coming massive backlash against the fake left mass migration vybrant friendly policies in Australian which is already brewing in the Centrelink queues round the country, so the prospects of PR after study are now very shaky

    (b) post pandemic, Australia will not be the land of milk and honey anyway and even if PR is still on the table it is not worth the $$$ it was a short while ago.

    So what they are really saying is that the value proposition of their plans has been upended. Sympathy from my end = zero. That is what happens when you undertake activity A (Australian education) with the unspoken intent of securing ancillary benefit B (Australian PR).

    They should go home now, before the ICU bed rationing starts (currently thought to be around 12-15 days). In 2-3 years when we are rebuilding, they can reconsider plans and I think it would definitely be fair to receive credit for units completed pre COVID19 and return. Hopefully by then there will be much more transparency around the PR / education rules.

    The other non student ‘New Australians’ who are here on low skilled / high disease transmission risk employment either due to a visa loophole or outright fraud need to go home now as well.

    • Charles MartinMEMBER

      “The other non student ‘New Australians’ who are here on low skilled / high disease transmission risk employment either due to a visa loophole or outright fraud need to go home now as well.”

      And take your grannies with you.