Words by Melanie Basta
The Council of International Students Australia is concerned about increasing healthcare costs for international students, which would include additional costs to paying full-price tuition fees. The CISA is therefore concerned that the announcements in the 2014-15 Federal Budget will negatively affect the amount of international students that come to study at Australian universities.
Currently international students are required to pay for healthcare through Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), which is a visa requirement. The CISA said in a press release that OSHC only covers what Medicare covers, which means international students must rely only upon what is proposed by Medicare.
CISA, along with several student associations, is concerned about added costs for research students, including uncapped tuition fees and the annual fee of $3,900.
National President of CISA Thomson Ch’ng said he was concerned about many of the Budget’s impacts on international students.
“A number of survey results have shown that cost of living is one of the top factors affecting the experience for international students in Australia and subsequently the choices of study destination,” he said.
“As the intention of positioning Australia as a premium and world-class learning destination is clear, the announcement of the budget does somehow challenge the direction of what Australia will be able to provide to international students.”
CISA has maintained that federal funding cuts to primary education and state programs will lead to a higher GST in several areas. The organisation said that further proposed changes including increasing fuel costs would mean international students would struggle with higher living expenses.