Pyne agenda lives on

20% cut to funding likely

The Australian   |   5 April 2016

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The government remains committed to a higher education funding reform with university students increasingly likely to pay more for their degrees, Education Minister Simon Birmingham has confirmed.

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Budget cutsBirmingham told Sky News on 4 April he wanted to “refine and improve” the original plan by former minister Christopher Pyne.

“The growth in higher education spending over the last 20 years has essentially gone at double the rate of growth of the economy, so that is not a sustainable financial trajectory,” he said.

He said the original 20% cut had only ever been “deferred” for 12 months:

This is not just a funding cut — it is a reform program.  We are not taking away from universities in terms of what they overall have to spend but there is an argument to say you need to have a look at the balance of what students contribute and what the government contributes.

He said Australia had one of the most generous student loan schemes in the world.

Birmingham flagged a change in government-private contributions at the Universities Australia conference one month ago, with vice-chancellors and analysts predicting the 20% cut proposed by Christopher Pyne in the 2014 budget would go ahead, but fee deregulation would be abandoned in favour of a change in public and private contributions. Some have also suggested an increase in the overall total charge could also increase to help boost university coffers.

See
University deregulation: Government still committed to higher education reforms
Government still wants to increase students’ contribution to university funding

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