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Education Training

An increase in the Youth Allowance is an increase in educational equity

UNSW Sydney 2 mins read

UNSW calls on the Federal Government to act on the recommendation in its Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s report and substantially increase Youth Allowance in the budget.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs said, “raising the rate of Youth Allowance would greatly assist low SES students studying higher education. This, along with changes to HECs indexation and paid placements for education, nursing and social work students are important equity reforms that should be prioritised in the Budget.”

The Federal Government has said the way to meet the rapid growth in jobs requiring university qualifications in the coming decades is to enrol more young people from outer suburbs and the regions in the tertiary system, and to ensure they succeed.

“The Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s report shows these people are being left behind, and the social and economic cost of inaction will only grow the longer the government waits,” said Professor Brungs.

Recent UNSW research undertaken as part of a long-term collaboration with ACOSS found among people in households below the poverty line, poverty was deepest for those reliant on Youth Allowance.

“When students are among the poorest members of our society the odds are stacked against their success,” said Professor Brungs.

As part of UNSW’s strategic priority of advancing societal impact, the university has committed to an access rate of 25% by 2027 for commencing domestic students from underrepresented schools and low-socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds. However, we know access without continued support, including financial support, is a risk to success at university.

UNSW supports the recommendations within the Universities Accord to increase access to underrepresented and disadvantaged students.

“Raising Youth Allowance and other working age payments a rare issue that unites the business community, social service advocacy groups, and economists. They all recognise that the current rate is incompatible with a basic standard of living, let alone any notion of equality of opportunity” said Professor Verity Firth, Vice President of Societal Impact, Equity and Engagement.

UNSW urges the government to act on the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s advice and substantially increase Youth Allowance so students can be better supported to undertake tertiary study. The Committee found lifting JobSeeker and related payments to 90% of the pension rate ($72 per day) would improve their adequacy and help people afford the essentials.


 


Contact details:

Prof. Verity Firth is available for comment  

Contact Michaela Boland 0402 834 831

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