By Ben Walker
Hundreds of local university students have posed for photographs carrying balls and chains to highlight the increasing level of debt for graduates.
It is part of a ‘Cut HECS Week’ campaign, with students from the University of Sydney and the University of NSW encouraging the Federal Government to reduce the HECS carried by students.
Sydney University’s Student Representative Council have also asked students to write their estimated HECS debt and deposit it into a special piggybank.
NSW National Union of Students president, David Barrow, estimates that some students are being expecting HECS debts of up to $50,000 for a three year university course. ‘Young people are graduating now with huge levels of personal debt, pushing normal things like buying a house of starting a small business even further out of their reach,’ Mr Barrow said.
‘The Rudd government has promised to fix the problems facing our universities; we want to make sure student voices are listened to,’ he said. ‘We need real action on HECS, not just a band-aid solution.’
Chris Moore, education and welfare officer at the Student Representative Council, believes the current HECS system is unfair.
‘The high cost of HECS might be tolerable for students who are better off, but it’s debt-sensitive families who are going to think twice about sending their kids to university ‘ that means education for the rich and not for the poor,’ Mr Moore said.