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Arts degrees still popular despite Job-ready fee hikes

Census results indicate no change in the University of Sydney's most popular degrees.

Despite the Federal Government’s recent overhaul of university fees, which saw the cost of arts, law and commerce degrees soar, the University of Sydney’s most popular courses have remained unchanged. 

Census results show that the three most popular courses this semester were a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Commerce/Advanced Studies — the same three as last year.

While the University did not confirm exact numbers, a Bachelor of Arts was its most in-demand course among recent high-school leavers.

These are the first statistics to roll in after the Federal Government’s Job-ready Graduates Package took effect in October.

Given current enrolment patterns, students say the Government’s fee increases aren’t achieving their intended effect of encouraging more students to pursue “job-ready” degrees in STEM and teaching.

“A student’s choice of degree is relatively indifferent to the cost of the degree, given that students generally do not pay up front,” said University of Sydney SRC President Swapnik Sanagavarapu.

“The Government’s fee hikes have simply discouraged many students from disadvantaged backgrounds from attending University in the first place.”

SRC Education Officer Madeleine Clarke said that students will needlessly be “saddled with up to $50,000 of student debt,” while universities are compensated with higher fees.

 “We are seeing how Australia treats universities as a degree factory, where students are cash cows.”

A University spokesperson said it was “too early to draw any clear connections” between the Job-Ready fee increases and study choices, noting that recent school-leavers started thinking about study choices “well before” legislation was passed.