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.

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.

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.

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

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.

10 August 2017

Should the wealthy repay more of their student loans?

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

Public-private benefits of education: do the sums

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

Higher education fees are rising – so is it still worthwhile enrolling?

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

Submission to the Inquiry into the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment

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

Attrition is a price worth paying for an open university system

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.