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Higher education outside the universities: a better option?

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Australia has around 130 higher education providers outside the university system. They are a diverse group, ranging from large multinational companies to small theological colleges to the TAFEs now offering degrees. Together they enrol more than 70,000 students.

These numbers could increase significantly in the future. The Commonwealth Government has accepted a recommendation of David Kemp and Andrew Norton, in their review of the demand driven funding system, to expand eligibility for government-supported tuition subsidies. If this passes the Senate, many of the students currently paying full fees in non-university higher education providers will pay much less than they do now. Public universities will face new price competition as they consider what fees they will charge in a deregulated market.

This Grattan Institute/State Library of Victoria Policy Pitch explored the nature of the non-university higher education sector, the implications for it and its students of receiving Commonwealth tuition subsidies, and the consequences for the broader higher education system.

andrew_norton Andrew Norton is the higher education program director at the Grattan Institute, and the co-author with David Kemp of the Review of the Demand Driven System: Final Report. Andrew has worked as a policy adviser to the vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne and as a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. In the late 1990s he was higher education adviser to David Kemp, the then education minister. Andrew is also an honorary fellow at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

Mary Mary Faraone, Chief Executive of Holmesglen Institute, has extensive experience in the VET sector, working with industry, RTOs and at TAFE. Mary has been at Holmesglen since mid-2003 and in her previous role was instrumental in the growth of Holmesglen, securing the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games training project, the 2006 Asian Games in Doha and educational reform project in Bahrain and Qatar.

Jeannie Jeannie Rea is the National President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). She came to this role from the position of Deputy Dean in Arts, Education and Human Development at Victoria University. Jeannie has been a professional educator and advocate in the post-secondary (TAFE and Higher Education) sector for over three decades focusing upon access to and success in quality courses. Her own disciplinary background and teaching and research interests are in gender studies, environmental science and social change.

George1 Dr George Brown is the Group Academic Director at Study Group (Australasia). George has held senior academic positions with the Australian Institute of Business, Think: Education Group, Navitas, Le Cordon Bleu Australia, International College of Hotel Management and TAFESA. He is an immediate past Board Director of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) and the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). George’s research interests surround higher education accreditation, governance, learning and teaching excellence and the burgeoning problem of non-official higher education provision.

Interested in delving deeper into this subject? We have prepared a reading list for you!

State Library of Victoria

Grattan Institute

The Policy Pitch is a joint initiative of the State Library of Victoria and Grattan Institute to provide a public interest series on key policy themes. These free public seminars will offer lively, intelligent and thoughtful debate.


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