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Australian universities raise fees for international students

Students at Curtin University, in Perth. Source: AAP

Some of the nation's biggest universities are raising their international student fees. It means students and educators are facing even more uncertain times ahead.

International students are preparing to return to campus for the first time since March 2020.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt says Australia is reopening to international students and skilled workers from Wednesday.

"We were intending to reopen on the 15th of December. That has been through the National Cabinet process. Victoria is taking steps, yesterday, and so that reopening is scheduled, will be going ahead, and has been reaffirmed over the weekend in consultation with the prime minister, the national cabinet discussion and the advice from the chief medical officer."

But increased fees isn’t the welcome back international students had hoped for.

Sadman Arafat is studying engineering at Monash University, but as an offshore student in Bangladesh.

He says the increased fees are a "slap to the face".

"You have to understand because we are not being able to access the Monash facilities as we were promised, that's an extraordinary circumstance. This is also an extraordinary circumstance. It might be legal to increase the fees but it’s definitely not ethical to do so."

Mr Arafat hasn't yet set foot on campus because of COVID-19.

Now he's being told he'll have to pay more to a university he's never been to.

"The fees I'm paying at Monash are actually coming from my family's, what do you call it, like life savings, literally.  Most people who study at universities such as Monash will come from countries like Bangladesh. I'm not talking about European countries or countries which has a high GDP per capita (gross domestic product), but in general, like regions like Asia or like Africa, so we usually struggle to pay that and that's why it actually comes from our personal savings."

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SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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