Polling shows highest ever support for free uni and TAFE


Independent polling commissioned by the office of Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi shows that most young people are concerned about paying back their student debt, a majority agree indexation should be scrapped & there is significant support for free uni and TAFE.

Key findings:

  • A clear majority of Australians think that University and TAFE should be free and fully funded by the Government (59%).

  • Most Australians think student debts are currently too high (68%).

  • There is resounding support for the proposition that student debts should not rise with inflation (72%).

  • Overall, three quarters (77%) of Australians with student debt are concerned about their student debt, with half of them being very concerned.

  • The younger the Australian the more concerned they are (Gen Z 79%, Millennials 70%, Gen X 60%, Baby Boomers 55%).

  • A majority  (64%) of Australians are concerned about student debt in general.

  • Seven out of ten (71%) Australians believe it is unfair the government is set to make more from rising student debt than they are from changes to their gas tax. 

  • Just under 60% (59%) of Australians believe that the minimum repayment income should be raised to the median wage.

  • Over half (52%) of Australians eligible to vote are more likely to vote for an election candidate with strong policies on tackling student debt. 

  • Younger people  are much more likely to vote for a candidate with strong policies on tackling student debt (Gen Z 69%, Millennials 64%, Gen X 49%, Baby Boomers 38%) – This increases to almost 80% (78%) of all Australians with student debt.

Lines attributable to Senator Mehreen Faruqi:

“Young people are clearly worried about owing an ever expanding student debt. At a time when the cost of living is biting, this polling is a clear message to Labor to act on the student debt crisis.

“These figures prove beyond all doubt that we desperately need to overhaul our cooked student debt system. The community agrees with the Greens that student debts are too high, growing too fast and taking too long to pay off. 

“The verdict on student debt indexation is in and it's damning. The Government should be wiping all student debt but at the very least, it should get its head out of the sand and abolish indexation now.

“This polling shows Labor is completely out of touch when they sat back and allowed an enormous hike to student debt during a cost of living crisis. People are angry that Labor is more focused on penalising students than making the corporations fueling  inflation pay their fair share. 

“People want a bold, progressive transformation. Labor should listen to the majority of Australians who back the Greens’ vision of free university and TAFE, which is fully funded by the Government.

“Education should open doors and lift people up, not shackle them with a debt sentence that only makes life harder."

Note- The polling was conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard, and in compliance with the Australian Polling Council Quality Mark standards (www.australianpollingcouncil.com). Lonergan Research surveyed 1,005 Australians 18+ between May 31 and June 5 2023. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.