NewsUni Life

Is it worth going to uni?

As a 7.1% indexation hike hits HECS debt holders, questions are now emerging on the high cost of tertiary education in Australia. In a new documentary exclusively screening at the Chromatic Festival this Friday, four News Media students (and Yak contributors) explore key issues impacting university students. 

With the national job market beginning to change, a cost-of-living crisis, and with student debts starting to affect credit scores, many students may be questioning their decision to pursue a university degree. It was these concerns that motivated current students at the University of Newcastle to ask some difficult questions – and attempt to find some answers – in a new 20-minute documentary.

Student journalists Peter Hyslop, Sophie Jaggers, Holly Fishlock, and Zali Winch explore why graduates are paying their debts off in full, why others refuse to find out how much they owe, and how technology has altered education since the last generation of students went through the tertiary system. Fortunately for you, the filmmakers have given Yak a sneak peek into what we can expect from the doco.

What’s it about? 

The first of its kind, this documentary takes a deep dive into the Job Ready Graduates Package of 2020, which saw the cost of arts and humanities increase by 113%. Through interviews with current and former students, we explore a cohort of students set to foot eye-watering bills for university education- more than any other generation of domestic students. With ‘in-demand’ career paths such as education now heavily subsidised, creative arts and humanities students are faced with a significant financial setback. We ask if students are being punished for studying areas not deemed valuable by the Federal Government.

Documentary makers and Yak Contributors Peter Hyslop and Sophie Jaggers

As the cost of living worsens, many can’t afford to deal with another blow to their credit score. But limits on loan applications are fast becoming the reality for graduates carrying  high student debts. An uneven debt load created by the Job Ready Graduates package is adding to the disadvantage. Some people are trying to beat the system and are paying their debts in full. Is this sustainable?


The digital disruption has revolutionised the way students interact with each other and with universities, being on campus less, socialising less and working more to make ends meet. The documentary explores how university life has changed since the 1990’s, when our parents went to university.

Holly Fishlock and Zali Winch behind the camera

Where can I see it?

You can catch the documentary at an exclusive screening at University of Newcastle’s Chromatic Festival, to be followed by a Q&A. The screening is open to the public and seats are limited, so register now!


Yak Media is not suggesting that students should not study at the University of Newcastle. Nor is it suggesting that national issues are confined to the institution. The interviews, comments, and opinions aired in the documentary are not necessarily that of Yak Media, and do not intend to harm or disparage the University of Newcastle. 

Feature Image provided by Peter Hyslop 

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