14 May 2018

To avoid uni drop outs, vocational ed needs a boost

For universities, budget week brought bigger news from the opposition than the government. Bill Shorten committed Labor to restoring the demand-driven funding system. If Labor wins the next election, public universities could again enrol unlimited numbers of domestic bachelor degree students.

8 May 2018

Budget 2018: what’s in store for education

The long aftermath of the VET FEE-HELP loan fiasco is still being felt in the 2018-19 Budget. The government is planning to spend A$36.2M over fours years for a new IT system to ensure compliance in the replacement VET Student Loans program.

2 May 2018

Part-timers at greatest risk of failing to complete their studies

There has been controversy raging over the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank for several weeks while a larger problem with university admissions, that of part-time study, is hardly mentioned.

4 April 2018

Submission on Redevelopment and Audit of the Higher Education Data Collection

The federal Department of Education and Training is looking to improve the quality and relevance of higher education student statistics. In this submission to the department’s discussion paper, Grattan’s Andrew Norton and Ittima Cherastidtham call on the Government to establish a universal identifier for post-secondary students.

27 March 2018

Designing a more sustainable student loan system

Nearly $20 billion of outstanding debt in the Higher Education Loan Program is not expected to be repaid. But the Commonwealth Government’s proposed reform Bill would collect less repayment from people with incomes between $58,000 and $95,000. In this submission to a Senate committee, Grattan’s Andrew Norton and Ittima Cherastidtham suggest alternative thresholds that would remedy this problem.

25 January 2018

What will funding cuts to universities mean for the future health workforce?

Just before Christmas 2017, the Federal Government ended six years of uncapped bachelor degree enrolments in all fields except medicine. For health courses, uncapping triggered an unprecedented enrolment boom, increasing student numbers by three-quarters between 2008 and 2016. That boom cannot now continue.

4 January 2018

Demand for cuts deals death blow to Australia’s demand-driven system

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

Bold and successful experiment comes to premature end with $2.2 billion university funding cut

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

Performance funding is not the way to improve university teaching

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

Focus on big picture to finetune tertiary system

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.