Cost of agriculture university courses to halve, National Farmers Federation praises policy as ‘commonsense’


Future agriculture graduates could hold the key to helping the industry achieve its goal of being worth $100 billion by 2030.

The Federal Government recently announced that agriculture students would pay 62 per cent less for their degrees from next year, a move that the National Farmers Federation (NFF) said highlights the value of the agriculture sector.

“It really seems like a commonsense announcement by the Federal Government to reduce the course fees for subjects, particularly in the agriculture-related disciplines,” said NFF president Fiona Simson.

“NFF has a very strong vision for the future of agriculture in Australia.

Ms Simson said it was disappointing to see a drop-off in some agriculture courses, but she hoped the fee reduction would turn those trends around.

“I’m confident that we’ll see a flood of students back to some of those disciplines,” she said.

With the rise of technology within the industry, Ms Simson says now is a prime opportunity to look at jobs of the future.

“This lessening of course fees of about 62 per cent is really going to go a long way to making sure we can keep bringing the best and brightest into agriculture.

“People are a really important pillar of that vision.”

Increased demand expected

Southern Cross University (SCU) director of strategic projects, Lorraine Gordon, said it was one of the best policy decision she has seen in a long time with the Government finally recognised the role played by agriculture.

“And us being able to equip students in those regenerative practices that also look after the environment while we produce food.”

Ms Gordon says the Government’s higher education plan is one of the best policy decisions she has seen.(Supplied: SCU)

Ms Gordon said that SCU has been on the forefront in meeting future employment and industry needs and this year launched a regenerative agriculture degree.

“We had over 100 students come in this year, and we hadn’t even hit the school system so that already puts us as the biggest ag course in the country,” she said.

While agriculture-related courses will decrease in cost by more than half, the cost of studying humanities degrees will double.

Brigid Heywood, the Vice Chancellor of the University of New England, said an increase or decrease in fees should not sway students’ career aspirations.

“To anybody that values education, and I think that’s all young people coming forward, now is not the moment to step away,” Ms Heywood said.

“They should continue with their plans, they should step-up and step-in, and they need to have conversations with their university of choice.

How much students can expect to pay:

Band Discipline Annual cost
1 Teaching, clinical psychology, English, maths, nursing, languages, agriculture $3,700
2 Allied health, other health, architecture, IT, creative arts, engineering, environmental studies, science $7,700
3 Medical, dental, veterinary science $11,300
4 Law & economics, management & commerce, society & culture, humanities, communications, behavioural science $14,500



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