With the Federal Budget being presented last night, many areas have been hard hit with funding cuts to make way for greater investment in roads and medical research. Lots of pain for lots of gain seems to be the general consensus.
On the top of the education agenda is the deregulation of the tertiary education sector, allowing universities, TAFEs and colleges to set their own fees from 2016. The impending increase in fees will also have a portion relayed back to the government to fund national scholarships for the disadvantaged. The key Education budget initiatives in the 2014 budget are summarised below (courtesy of NAB’s Business View Connect)
- From 1 January 2016, tuition fees for higher education providers – universities, private colleges and TAFEs – will be deregulated, allowing providers to set their own fees for courses offered. The Government will expand the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) to cover non-university providers. Changes to income thresholds for repayment and indexation arrangements are expected to save the government $3.2 billion over four years.
- Higher education providers will be required to direct 20% of additional revenue from increased student fees to a scholarship scheme to improve access for disadvantaged students.
- Reflecting the deregulation of tuition fees, the Government’s contribution to new student fees will be reduced by 20% on average and indexed to the CPI. This measure is expected to save around $1.1 billion over three years (from 2015-16).
- A range of government savings are generated by ceasing existing programmes – such as the HECS-HELP benefit, Higher Education Reward Funding and Research Training Scheme funding (with this measure set to save $174 million over three years).
- From 1 July 2014, the Government will provide concessional Trade Support Loans of up to $20,000 over a four year apprenticeship for those learning a trade.
- Abolition of last 2 years of school funding, replaced with lower cost alternative to support the Commonwealth Budget. The Government will maintain the ‘Students First’ arrangements for recurrent funding to the end of the 2017 School year, it will provide $54 Million in 2017/18 to maintain the real value of Commonwealth school funding in that year and after that it will lift recurrent school funding using adjustments for the CPI and enrolments.
In the article below from The Conversation, several leading academic experts have given their view.
How do you think this will affect the Australian tertiary education landscape?