Education reforms lead to big course fee rises for local TAFE students

Sarah Melis (left) has support in her concerns about education costs from Jacinta Ermacora.

Sarah Melis (left) has support in her concerns about education costs from Jacinta Ermacora.

A WARRNAMBOOL mother of a schoolgirl in need of alternative high school education says heightened TAFE fees are crippling her family budget.

Sarah Melis has spoken out about her frustration with changes to TAFE fees, with prices nearly eight times what was paid before the reforms introduced by the state government two years ago.

Ms Melis said her daughter Dejanah had to leave her previous high school a few months ago due to bullying and other personal issues.

Her older son Jake had completed his high school studies through TAFE, so Ms Melis sought a similar pathway for Dejanah.

“The cost for a year 10 course was $4720, which is the full-year price even though she was enrolling halfway through the year,” Ms Melis said.

“The quote we had for Dejanah to do year 11 at TAFE next year is $5000. 

“When Jake went to do VCAL through TAFE, it was nowhere near that amount but from what I understand, there’s been a huge change in fees over the past few years.”

Labor candidate Jacinta Ermacora said Ms Melis’ case was an example of how TAFE cutbacks had hurt south-west families financially.

She said the same course prior to state government cuts would have cost Ms Melis about $60 to $70.

“This is the real face of cuts to TAFE by the Coalition government,” she said. 

Higher Education Minister Nick Wakeling was contacted for a response but referred the matter to a South West TAFE spokesman. The spokesman was unavailable yesterday.

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