Higher Education Program Director Andrew Norton moves on from Grattan

by John Daley

Andrew Norton, the Director of Grattan’s Higher Education Program since it started eight years ago, has decided to move on.

Andrew has been the driving force behind the Program’s overall direction, and its detailed analysis of everything from completion rates to funding trends.

For several years, the Higher Education Program’s advocacy helped persuade the Commonwealth Government to keep demand-driven funding of bachelor-degree student places. Although funding caps were eventually imposed, a record proportion of young Australians now attend university.

The Higher Education Program also drew attention to the escalating expense of the HELP loan scheme. Three reports proposed policies for bringing HELP’s costs down while keeping higher education accessible and debt repayments affordable. Some of these policies are now in place.

The Program devised and published five editions of Mapping Australian higher education, Grattan’s overview of Australian higher education. Public servants, university executives, university councils, and journalists all regard it as the essential introduction and reference guide to the sector.

Grattan CEO John Daley said: ‘Andrew has made an enormous contribution to the Grattan team. His wise counsel and wry observations about the realities of politics, ministers, and all sides of politics have often helped Grattan to steer a better course.

‘Andrew is truly irreplaceable, and in view of his departure Grattan has made the difficult decision not to extend the Higher Education Program further.’

Grattan will continue to host the substantial body of work produced by the Higher Education Program, and to respond to media inquiries to the extent that Andrew does not do so in his next role.

The Myer Foundation supported the Program for its first four years. John Daley said the work of the Program will resonate with higher education policy makers for years to come, and is an enduring monument to the Foundation’s support.

Andrew Norton is exploring a number of opportunities beyond Grattan, and his last day at Grattan will be 26 September.