Full fee-paying places in new medical program causes outrage

Posted October 13, 2011, by Josie Chun

The University of Melbourne has introduced a new medical program offering 60 full fee-paying places in its four-year postgraduate Doctor of Medicine program, causing outrage from the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA).

AMSA President Ross Roberts-Thomson says that by changing its medical degree to a postgraduate rather than an undergraduate course, the University of Melbourne is attempting to circumvent the Commonwealth Government’s ban on domestic undergraduate full fee-paying places.

The AMSA strongly opposes the introduction of domestic full fee-paying places for medical schools and is calling for government action so that medical education remains accessible to all Australians.

‘The Australian higher education system has always been based on equity of access. That is, if you are good enough to get in to a university it does not matter whether you are rich or poor, finances should not restrict participation in higher education. This is as true for medicine as it is any other course, and this announcement threatens this principle,’ says Ross Roberts-Thomson.

‘The Bradley report into higher education stated that participation by students from low socio-economic backgrounds in higher education in Australia needs to be increased. The Federal Government and universities have been working hard to achieve this aim, which AMSA strongly supports. So for one of Australia's leading universities to make an active decision to disadvantage students from low socio-economic backgrounds is very disappointing and will undermine much of the good work being done around the nation,’ says Roberts-Thomson. 

Josie Chun

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