This article may be out of date. Please refer to the Good Universities Guide blog for the latest updates in the tertiary sector.
With this week’s release of the federal government’s Budget, we’ve put together a summary of the announcements that will affect you as a student or young jobseeker. Read on to see what the Federal Budget 2015–16 means for you.
If you’re a tertiary student
- There’s no news on the deregulation of the university sector, originally announced as part of last year’s Budget. While the Budget papers hint at its introduction in 2016, at this stage the proposal has not been passed by the Senate. If approved, you can expect to hear more about the reforms in coming months. If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest in uni funding, check out our Education news section.
- The VET FEE-HELP loan scheme will benefit from reforms that will strengthen arrangements with training providers and ensure safeguards for students and employers.
- The federal government will provide $16.9 million from 2015–16 to 2018–19 to lift initial teacher training quality, which is great news if you’re studying education. This funding will allow the government to improve student learning outcomes over time.
- News for the research sector seems to be a bit of a mixed bag, with the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy set to benefit from a $150 million commitment in 2015–16 and a further $150 million in 2016–17. This will ensure ongoing support for research while the Commonwealth funding review continues. This does, however, come at the expense of the Sustainable Research Excellence (SER) program, which will lose $263 million over three years.
- Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) will be subject to tougher regulatory requirements, and the government will continue to fund the Australian Skills Quality Authority to enable it to undertake regulatory reform and enforce the standards.
If you’re an apprentice
Apprentices are set to benefit from a funding boost of $664 million, which includes $7500 scholarships for employers to take on and train unemployed young people and a further $1.8 million for the Trade Support Loans.
Also of interest is the Australian Apprenticeships Support Network, set to begin on 1 July. More than 350,000 apprentices will be supported in the first year of the program, which will receive $200 million in funding for 2015–16.
If you’re a graduate
Previously, graduates with a Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debt living overseas were given a free ride. From 1 January 2016, graduates living and working overseas for more than six months will need to make payments on their loans once they reach the minimum repayment threshold.
The repayment threshold has also been adjusted for the 2015–16 financial year, now sitting at $54,126.
If you’re unemployed
- A $330 million Youth Employment Strategy will help young people enter the workforce, with funding for areas of high youth unemployment, young people with mental health issues and young migrants. This includes a national work experience program that will offer wage subsidies to employers who take on young people after a period of unpaid work.
- From 1 January 2016, early school leavers aged 15 to 21 will need to work 25 hours a week to qualify for income support until they turn 22 or achieve a Year 12 or certificate II qualification.
- Restrictions will also apply to newly unemployed young people (under the age of 25), who will have to wait four weeks before qualifying for welfare payments. A new ‘no show’ policy will also see payments suspended for those who miss an appointment or Work for the Dole.
- From 1 July 2016, the eligibility age for the Newstart Allowance will increase from 22 to 25.