by Tom Swann, Researcher
The chaotic ‘fixing’ of Christopher Pyne’s failed university funding deregulation agenda seems a long way behind us now. The budget lists few new measures, with the money focused mainly on supporting student places in regional universities. That’s an attempt to compensate for previously announced caps on per-student government funding.
The government is also clawing back uni fees faster from students, with a previously announced HELP loan repayment schedule that sees lower income graduates start paying loans back earlier. In addition, graduates at some higher incomes will repay less, and there’s a new higher income bracket. But the whole point is to get most students to repay more of their loans faster, including on lower incomes. The changes won’t see higher income graduates contribute more over their highly paid careers, rather pay off their loans more quickly.
Good news includes a modest increase in ‘research infrastructure’ funding of around $400m over five years, covering costs of research not covered by grant funding. This should reduce some of the pressure for universities to gouge students to cross-subsidise research. Also good news is the quiet backflip on abolishing the roughly $150 million a year Higher Education Partnerships and Participation Program.
In the VET sector, there’s extra funding to manage VET Student Loans program in the aftermath of previous poor accountability and dodgy private providers.
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