FEDERAL Education Minister Christopher Pyne has backed calls for university students to pay more for their study.
His comments follow a speech he gave last week saying he wanted a "laser-like focus on quality", and backing US-style moves for a heavier burden on students to pay their way.
That speech was the strongest signal from the Minister to date that the Abbott Government is preparing to deregulate university fees, allowing institutions to charge what they like.
He said he wanted to "set our universities free", advocating a more "competitive approach" in the higher education market.
Mr Pyne told ABC TV on Sunday he believed there was the capacity for "students to contribute more to their education".
He said students should be prepared to pay a bigger share on the basis that "they're very likely to have an unemployment rate below 1%".
Mr Pyne also said those with a degree could look forward to earning an extra 75% over their lifetime than those without a higher education.
His comments follow the government's Commission of Audit last week recommending the onus be put back on students to pay the lion's share of their education expenses.
The report recommended students pay 55% of their higher education costs in the future; up from the current level of 41%, despite concerns such a move could lock-out students from regional areas and poorer backgrounds.
Do you agree that university students should pay more for their education? Have your say in our comments section and vote in our poll.
Should Australia follow the US and charge more for university study?
This poll ended on 09 June 2014.
Yes. Graduates will earn more, so they should pay more
No. University education should be low-cost so everyone can benefit
Yes. Nothing is free these days
No. These graduates are our future and should be encouraged
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.