4 January 2018
Australia’s experiment with demand-driven university funding is over, with government cash frozen for two years from 1 January. Increased funding from 2020 will be distributed by the government without reference to student demand. The demand-driven system was not a failed experiment. But it was a costly one, as it funded universities for unlimited numbers of bachelor’s degree students.
20 December 2017
The demand-driven system wasn’t perfect. But it was better than the system that went before it and the system that is coming after it. It was a bold and successful experiment in higher-education policy. But sadly, it was also short-lived.
25 October 2017
More than ever, universities have an incentive to respond to student interests, and the flexibility to do so. We should not distract them with policy changes that could easily make things worse.
25 October 2017
Some good analysis of where tertiary education policy could be improved, along with practical proposals for reform, could lead to changes that both Labor and Liberal parties can support. Tiring as big reviews are, they are one way of getting above ad hoc problem-solving to see the bigger picture.
12 September 2017
Australia needs to address the education gap between metropolitan and rural students. Rural students are less likely to go to university, and are more likely to leave university without gaining a degree. Government policy should encourage rural students to study full-time and on-campus soon after leaving school, to enhance their chances of success.
10 August 2017
Australian legislation proposes to lower the country’s generous loan repayment threshold. Set too low, it can cause graduates serious financial hardship. Set too high, it means that significant amounts of debt will not be recovered.
9 August 2017
Since HECS was introduced nearly 30 years ago, policymakers have believed that a balance of public and private benefits from higher education could set parallel public and private payments.
4 July 2017
The prospect of higher fees raises concerns about whether higher education is still worthwhile. With subdued job growth since the global financial crisis and many more students at university, educational choices are more complex now than a decade ago.
8 June 2017
The Senate is conducting an inquiry into the higher education reforms announced in the 2017 Commonwealth Budget. The Senate should support changes to the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) and the proposed increases in student contributions.
11 May 2017
Australian policymakers have moved to link funding to student retention. But they must accept that desirable trends don’t all arise in perfect harmony. If we want a more open and accessible higher education system, all other things being equal, one price of that is going to be higher attrition. It should be kept as low as possible, but, ultimately, it is a price worth paying.