Senators say “NO” to Fees on PhDs

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is celebrating an enthusiastic response from the new Senate to their No Fees on PhDs campaign, with seven Senators in two days pledging to vote against Research Training Scheme cuts.

CAPA wrote to every member of the new Senate on July 1st asking them to clearly state their position on a range of Federal Budget measures including a proposed $174.7 million in cuts to the Research Training Scheme, the introduction of fees on PhDs and Masters by Research of up to $3,900 per year, and a 6 per cent interest rate on HELP debt.

Senators have also been provided with a pledge to support CAPA’s campaign, which they have been invited to sign and return to the higher education peak body through the mail or via social media.

Declaring their support for the campaign so far are Australian Labor Party Senators Sue Lines, Jan McLucas, Kim Carr, Joe Bullock, Deborah O’Neill and Claire Moore, and Australian Greens Senators Scott Ludlam and Lee Rhiannon.

“This campaign calls on the new Senate to end the uncertainty for higher degree by research students by providing a definitive stance on fees on PhDs,” said Meghan Hopper, President of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations.

“We’ve written to every member of the new Senate to ask them to sign a pledge committing their support for our campaign to block fees on PhDs and Masters by Research, or alternatively to let us know honestly if they intend to vote in favour of these budget measures,” Ms Hopper said.

“There has been no consultation with students from the Government in relation to these changes and so at this point, the most important thing for Higher Degree by Research students is having some certainty around our futures and knowing where we stand,” she said.

Ms Hopper said that she was thrilled to see early support from representatives of the Australian Labor Party and The Greens, but was also looking forward to hearing from cross-bench Senators.

“We are very eager and willing to talk to the cross-bench Senators about why it is so critical to support our future research workforce by saying no to fees on PhDs,” Ms
Hopper said.

Follow the campaign and the list of Senator pledges at