ANSTO welcomes the federal government's plan to make STEM degrees cheaper

Bright minds: NSW Minister for Innovation Kevin Anderson (third from left) with some of ANSTO's Industry Foundations Scholarship winners. Picture: Supplied
Bright minds: NSW Minister for Innovation Kevin Anderson (third from left) with some of ANSTO's Industry Foundations Scholarship winners. Picture: Supplied

ANSTO has welcomed plans to make science, mathematics and engineering degrees more affordable and accessible to young people.

It comes after federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan told the National Press Club last week that university course fees would be altered to push students into areas where more job opportunities were expected in the future.

Under the government's plan, those studying science, health, agriculture and maths degrees will pay 62 per cent less, while students studying teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, English and language will pay 46 per cent less for their degree.

However, students studying the humanities will face a 113 per cent increase in costs, while law and commerce degrees will go up 28 per cent.

An ANSTO spokesman said degrees such as mathematics, science and engineering provide core skills that equipped students for the jobs of the future.

"By 2030, workers are expected to spend 77 per cent more time using science and math skills - it's integral that students of today are equipped for these jobs of the future," the spokesman said.

"COVID-19 has reinforced the need for Australia's workforce to remain diverse, innovative and technologically based. For this to be achieved, more students need to be studying STEM subjects.

"The life-changing medical solutions developed at ANSTO and solutions to industrial problems made possible by nandin come about because of people with core STEM skills."

He said STEM was a key driver and component of the many medical and technological solutions created at ANSTO and nandin - ANSTO's innovation centre which helps deep tech entrepreneurs start, scale and grow their businesses.

ANSTO recently created a Graduate Institute as part of its Innovation Precinct, which aims to create a network of Australia's brightest young minds focused on the future.

It also offered the first round of Industry Foundations Scholarships in partnership with the state government.