Some 14 per cent of Australians studying at university regularly go hungry and a third of those who are self-supporting miss class because they need to work, according to new research for Universities Australia. On average, full-time students live in poverty, reporting incomes of $18 000 a year.
This is a significant cause of under-performance and attrition, with 40 per cent of students reporting that employment demands “adversely effects” their study performance and 10 per cent deferring studies because they cannot afford to continue.”
The survey of 18 500 domestic and international students at 38 universities was undertaken for Universities Australia by the University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education.
The survey found Indigenous students do it especially tough, with 27 per cent reporting not being always able to afford food and other necessities. Some 36 per cent reported not accessing medical/dental care because of cost, compared to 30 per cent of Internationals, 32 per cent of domestic regional students and 26 per cent of all domestic students.
The report finds domestic student average income is stuck at 2012 levels.