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Cap funding, says Davis

The Australian   |   8 November 2013

Glyn DavisUncapped  funding for university enrolments should be replaced by an entirely new system that caps funding to institutions but allows them to set their own goals,  according to Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis.

Under the Rudd-Gillard governments, universities witnessed a 34%  rise in undergraduate enrolments, with government spending on university places forecast to rise from $5bn in 2010-11 to $7bn by 2016-17.

Davis says the review of the uncapped system foreshadowed by education minster Christopher Pyne needs to give the government budget certainty while allowing universities the freedom to determine the make-up of their student body.

Instead of the government micro-managing student numbers in specific study areas, as it had historically done, universities should be free to determine their own enrolments but within a predetermined funding cap, Davis said.

Sandra Harding, vice-chancellor of James Cook University and chairwoman of Universities Australia, said the sector’s view remained that the demand-driven system should be retained but that it was “reasonable” for a new government to review it.

OPEN-SLATHER funding for university enrolments, which caused a budget blowout under Labor, must be replaced by an entirely new system that caps funding to institutions but allows them to set their own goals, says Australia’s most prominent vice-chancellor.

Melbourne University’s Glyn Davis told The Australian an overhaul of the system was needed to give the government budget certainty while allowing universities the freedom to determine the make-up of their student body.

Instead of the government micro-managing student numbers in specific study areas, as it had historically done, universities should be free to determine their own enrolments but within a predetermined funding cap, Professor Davis said.

Critics of Labor’s so-called demand-driven system say the policy was equivalent to writing a blank cheque, with the cost expected to reach more than $6.5 billion by 2015.

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne is expected to unveil soon details of a review into the demand-driven system.

– See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/university-funding-cap-key-to-reform-plan-says-glyn-davis/story-e6frgcjx-1226755452566#sthash.qK8EvDAC.dpuf

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