University students and lecturers have questioned a government strategy that would see humanities-based degrees double in expense, while STEM-degrees are given subsidies.
Up to $480 million of federal money will be directed towards re-structuring the fees towards incentivising degrees that are deemed to have a direct job pathway.
"Job-relevant" courses, as the government outlines, including nursing, psychology, languages, teaching, agriculture, mathematics, science, health, environmental sciences and architecture will become cheaper.
Students enrolled in these subjects will spend between $3700 and $7700 a year.
Humanities subjects will be doubled to cost up to $14,500 a year. In some areas, it is up to a 113 per cent increase in cost.
Bachelor of Arts course director at Charles Sturt University, Dr Jared van Duinen described the announcement as "disappointing but not entirely surprising".
"For a while, governments have been manipulating degrees fees to socially engineer what they think is worthwhile needed in the workforce," Dr van Duinen said.
"It sends a clear message that this government does not believe humanities is important."
Over his years at the university, however, Dr van Duinen said he had seen increasing demand for the kinds of "transferable skills" existing in the Arts and Humanities fields.
"The Bachelor of Arts has distinct strengths in delivering essential skills that the corporate many industries say they are going to need," he said.
With the incoming years now facing enormous recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr van Duinen said it would be better for governments to incentivise upskilling across the board, instead of valuing one degree over another.
"Fee increases are always unfair on the coming generation," he said.
Charles Sturt University union representative Dr Helen Masterman-Smith furthered the sentiment by saying the fee restructure "indicates that there is a narrow view that the university sector produces narrow graduates".
"It's painting some degrees as not relevant when in reality our graduates in these [Arts] degrees are highly sought after for job offers because they are very well-rounded and versatile students," Dr Masterman-Smith said.
"Combined Arts degrees are so popular because they are so prized by employers."
Johanna Evans completed her HSC in Wagga last year before moving to Canberra to get her double degree in Arts and Science at the Australian National University.
Hearing that the government would not consider her Arts components as relevant to the job market, Ms Evans said left her "shocked".
"I know a lot of good teachers for example who have done an Arts degree before they go into teaching, it's completely relevant," she said.
"Humanities is about human society, so of course it's jobs related. Just because it's not hands-on and trades focused does not mean it is not valuable."
With ambitions to enter academia once she has completed her degree, Ms Evans said her decision to study the Arts component was to lead her onto a sound job pathway.
"As a uni student you're always thinking of where you'll be after you graduate, you're always looking at job prospects," she said.
"I'm not going to let a comment from [the government] change what I want to do."
Similarly, India Becroft, who also finished high school in Wagga last year, said she had been left "pretty blindsided" when she was told that her Arts and Law degree at the University of Wollongong may end up costing her twice as much as she anticipated.
With Law also increasing in cost by up to 28 per cent, she stands to be spending a lot more each year to stay at university.
"I'm not sure I get why they're doing this. It's to give room for teaching and nursing students but I'm struggling to understand why Law would not be 'job ready'," Ms Becroft said.
"Of course we need teachers and nurses but not to the detriment of everything else."
Like Ms Evans, Ms Becroft chose to combine her major study with an Arts component in order to "grow my view" for her future occupation.
"My Arts degree is very philosophy based and I went into that with the view to become a well-rounded thinker," she said.
"That will only benefit my career field and help me service the clients better. I think that's what Arts does, it makes well-rounded thinkers."
But both students did choose to combine their Arts degrees with another, arguably more job-oriented degree type, which exactly what Wagga Christian College principal Phillip Wilson encourages his students to do.
"I think it's important to have a humanities component to most degrees," Mr Wilson said.
"In the future, you might even find that Arts subjects become a separate component to every degree.
"They're the 'bedside manner' subjects. I know someone who is studying nursing and has done a history unit because you can't look where you're going without knowing where you've been."
Even before tertiary education is an option, Mr Wilson explained that a lot of effort is placed on preparing students for the world, by engaging with the humanities.
"We teach them as young as three years old how to get along in the world, how to treat each other, and that has to do with the humanities," he said.
"Humanities really should be a part of every study area."