In "Studying can be a costly choice", Tracey West (Griffith University, May 12, 2023) argues that students should be educated about ways to reduce their study loan cost. I suggest this could go further, educating students about cheaper and quicker non-university study options, and ways to accelerate their studies.
As an example, students can do part of their studies in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, which has lower fees, & shorter programs. These programs have been shown to lead to higher incomes than university courses. Students could be shown how to plan their studies strategically, to receive a VET qualification and credit for university studies.
Students can also be trained in how to get credit for prior work, & learning. Work Integrated Learning is another option studnts could be encouraged in, so they earn while learning. These options are more common in the VET sector than universities. The federal government might put in place programs to encourage them in university, and train staff to run them.
While universities might have a moral obligation to educate students about these options, it would be contrary to their financial interests. Given that Australian universities have occasionally stolen wages from staff, and carried out other illegal acts, they can't be relied on to act morally. So some form of incentive from government, or legal penalty, would be needed for them to give them an incentive. The exception would be the dual system institutions, which already combine VET and university education.
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