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Student Central

Proposed fee changes 2021

On 19 June 2020, the Australian Government announced the Job-ready Graduates Package which is subject to the passage of legislation.

This package aims to provide more opportunities for people to gain the qualifications they will require for the jobs of the future. These reforms aim to create a higher education system that is more efficient and can deliver better outcomes for students, industry and the wider community.


  • At this stage the reforms have only been presented for public consumption and a bill is yet to be put to parliament. 

    CDU sets its fees based on the Funding Clusters and Indexed Rates published by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. 

    Once the 2021 rates are published, we will set our fees and make them available on our website.

  • If you are a continuing student (enrolled before 1 January 2021) studying units in disciplines with increased student contribution amounts, you will continue paying the same amount as you would have, had these reforms not been implemented for any units that would otherwise have an increased student contribution.

    If you are a commencing student studying units in arts, society and culture, law and economics, creative arts and communications you will see increases in your student contributions for those units.

    If you are studying a course in a key growth area you will see significant reductions in your student contributions for unit in disciplines with decreased student contribution amounts.  

    These new student contribution amounts will also apply to education and nursing students who had their contributions grandfathered from 2010, effectively ending these grandfathering arrangements.

    Eligible students can still defer their student contributions through a world-leading HECS-HELP loan, meaning there are no up-front costs for studying at university.

  • The Government needs to focus its subsidies on courses that will lead to the best outcomes for the broader public. That’s why they have been able to reduce student contributions for over half of all commencing students.

    That’s why teachers, nurses, engineers, scientists—these are the workers our economy needs—will see significantly lower student contributions. The Government is embedding its priorities—the nation’s priorities—in the CGS.

  • Funding is being redesigned to make it clearer, simpler and more sustainable.

    With more students than ever likely to seek entry to higher education, we need the best funding system we can design.

    This package provides more student places at Australian universities.

  • The costs used to inform the new funding rates were gathered through the Transparency of Higher Education Expenditure data collection. This collection is the result of extensive engagement with the sector and provides the best current estimate of the cost of delivering university courses in disciplines.

  • Students enrolled in units that will be subject to a lower student contribution amount under the new design will pay the new lower student contribution, regardless of when they commenced their course.

  • These arrangements are specific to the unit of study, rather than the broader course itself. This means that you may pay some lower student contributions where a unit of study is in a field that has moved to a lower band rate. However, you will not pay higher student contributions for units in fields that are subject to higher band rates under the new design as you are a continuing student.

  • If you are an eligible domestic university student, you can still defer your student contributions through a HECS-HELP loan.

    If you want to study at university, you should continue to consider all relevant aspects of this big decision.

    Like in high school, students tend to do best when they study the things they are interested in.

    Employment outcomes for different fields of study are published on the ComparEd website, and the Course Seeker website can help you find the course that’s right for you.

  • You won’t necessarily accrue a HELP debt this size, as the cost of studying is determined by the units you study rather than the field of your course overall.

    For example, as part of an arts degree you may study some units in creative arts or languages which have lower student contributions. Australia’s world-leading HECS-HELP loans system will also continue to ensure that you face no up‑front cost barriers to gaining a higher education.

    Prospective students should consider a range of factors when deciding what to study, including their interests, employment outcomes and cost. Employment outcomes for different fields of study are published on the QILT website, and the course seeker website can help you find the course that’s right for you.

  • Students commencing courses in 2021 will be subject to the new rates.

    If you passed the census date of a unit of study in a Commonwealth Supported Place in 2020 or earlier, and you did not complete the course before 31 December 2020, you will pay the previous rates as a continuing student.

  • Students changing to a different course in 2021 will pay the previous rates as continuing students if they did not complete the original course before 31 December 2020.