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Careful what you wish for…

26 May 2014

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CoinsThe debate over the deregulation of fees in the university sector has been going on at various levels of intensity for some years, as a check of The Scan archive shows. In this post from May 2012, which has attracted some attention in recent days, Swinburne vice-chancellor Linda Kristjanson presciently warned the more effusive proponents of deregulation that any increase in student contributions in years to come may well be accompanied by reductions in public expenditure.

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An internal discussion paper distributed at a recent Universities Australia meeting in Adelaide canvassed a range of contentious issues including setting minimum entry limits on certain degrees and some degree of fee deregulation, issues on which there is not unity of opinion within the sector.

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But Swinburne University of Technology v-c  Linda Kristjanson has sounded the  warning: careful what you wish for.

An unfortunate political reality is that governments often see public funding and student contributions as interchangeable.  Any increase in student contributions in years to come may well be accompanied by reductions in public expenditure, a measure on which Australia already performs particularly poorly by OECD comparisons.

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