29 May 2019

After the surprise election result, it’s time for pragmatic thinking on higher education policy

Current policy is not serving anyone’s best interests. Universities are unhappy about declining real funding and a diminished capacity to meet student, employer and community needs. In coming years, school-leavers and their parents will be angry about reduced higher education opportunities. And the Government is left with a policy outcome it did not want and that will cause increasing political problems.

21 May 2019

Higher Education: key challenges for the re-elected Coalition Government

Current higher education policy can’t meet Australia’s future needs. Fortunately, there are ways to improve policy without a high cost to the Budget.

8 May 2019

Are international students passing university courses at the same rate as domestic students?

Many are concerned that universities are not maintaining standards as the numbers of international students increase rapidly. The pass rates of domestic and international undergraduate students aren’t much different, but the gap is starting to widen.

2 May 2019

Why Australia should revert to demand-driven funding of universities

The capacity of demand-driven funding to manage micro-level changes, as well as bigger population trends, makes it superior to a block-grant system.

11 April 2019

Return of demand-driven funding in Australia could come with strings

A Labor victory in May’s election could still see funding conditional on universities’ employability, diversity or research records.

4 December 2018

Donor ban denies foreign students

With a ban on foreign political ­donors passed by parliament last week, international students will soon have fewer political rights in Australia. They could be banned from donating to campaigns to protect their interests in ­education, employment and ­migration.

5 September 2018

To fix higher education funding, we also need to fix vocational education

The policy status quo of capped higher education funding and a funding bias against vocational education will not serve us well. With restored demand driven funding and changes to vocational education, the tertiary education system would do a better job of matching students with the courses that maximise their long-term employment outcomes.

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.

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.