The cost of architecture, engineering and built environment degrees will increase dramatically if the Federal Government deregulates the education market as proposed in the Federal Budget.

Architecture degrees are estimated to increase from around $35,000 to $55,000; engineering and surveying from around $57,000 to above $100,000, according to  analysis from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).

Australian Universities, the body representing Australia’s 39 universities, released similar findings on Tuesday. For example, they estimate that universities will charge a student studying engineering up 60 per cent more. That would mean an engineering graduate working full-time could expect to accumulate a debt of up to $119,000.

“What we saw in most of the scenarios was an increase in the debt level of about twice and an extension of the period of which they paid back that debt of somewhere between two and six additional years,” CEO of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson, told the  ABC

National President of Association of Consulting Architects (ACA) Australia, Steve Kennedy commented:

“The ACA is very concerned about the potential implications of rising costs of university fees in terms of the impacts it will have on attracting the most talented and capable students and the burden it will place on recent graduates in terms of their debt to salary ratio.”

“The ACA's recent survey showed a high level of concern amongst members of the impact of the budget on their businesses, in an economy that is far from buoyant.”

“The architectural industry plays a pivotal role in the Australian economy and any moves that may impact on our ability to maintain a stable and well trained workforce are of serious concern.”

A question about the expected impact of the budget on the wider profession, the survey answers included:

  • "Even less diversity of university graduates due to fees and lack of ability to pay off university debt due to low wages."

On whether the budget would benefit society in the long term:

  • "Definitely not. The long term impact on society, especially the disadvantage will be greatly impacted. I am also concerned that the increased costs to education may result in architecture becoming an elite profession. Is this what we want for a profession?"

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has rejected the idea that the proposed arrangements will drive up course costs, countering that competition will drive prices down.

How much will a uni degree cost? Source: NTEU analysis