Environmental science hit with severe funding cuts in Coalition universities overhaul

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Environmental science degrees have been hit with funding cuts of nearly 30%, as experts warn that it will affect Australia’s ability to cope with drought, bushfires, mass extinction, coral bleaching and the effects of global heating.Prof Dianne Gleeson, the president of the Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (Acedd), said the cut to environmental sciences was “one of the largest funding cuts to any university course”, and had flown under the radar.Those studying environmental science will receive $9,944 less in funding per student per year under the government’s higher education changes, the equivalent of a 29% funding cut to the subject.Under the changes, which passed the Senate last week with the backing of Centre Alliance and One Nation, the student contribution for environmental studies was cut from $9,698 to $7,700 a year –meaning students will pay less for their degrees.However, the commonwealth contribution was also cut from $24,446 to $16,500 per year – meaning that the government will fund each degree less.Acedd said this would “undoubtedly” lead to a lower quality of degree as staff, teaching resources and expensive technology were cut from courses.Gleeson said this had created a “perverse” outcome where the Coalition’s job-ready graduate package would …

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