31 March 2005

More than half of the students starting law at Melbourne University this year will be full fee paying students ‘The Age’ reported last Thursday. Other prestigious courses, such as optometry and dental science, also have a high percentage of full fee paying students enrolling this year, 48.3% and 37.2% respectively.

Under federal legislation, universities are allowed to enrol up to 35% of the total number of students in any course as full fee places. Many universities have increased their reliance on revenue provided by full fee paying students this year; and claim that this is a result of insufficient government funding. Students can gain entry to a full fee place with marks that are often substantially below that required to get a HECS place.

This has prompted claims that students are able to buy their degrees. Jenny Macklin, opposition education spokeswoman, said that ‘people who can pay $96,000 to study law at Melbourne University now have more than twice the chance of getting in than those who don’t have the money to pay full fees’.

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