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Great 8 propose caps on enrolments

Fairfax Media    |  15 June 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The elite Group of Eight universities have proposed that the Commonwealth government reintroduce limits on how many students each university can enrol, a suggestion slammed by other vice-chancellors as "cancerous" and "selfish". …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   The Group has released a paper calling for a "moderation" of the demand-driven system that allows universities to enrol as many students as they want. Group of Eight chair Michael Spence said the uncapping of university places in from 2009-21012 had blown out the budget by billions of dollars while leaving important university … [Read more...]

The Scan #179 5 May 2016

A few cuts, no frills 4 May 2016   |   The government has pushed consideration of proposed university reforms, including a 20% cut in funding, out beyond the election, until 1 January 2018.  While it has ruled out full fee deregulation, it has released an options paper, to guide a consultation process, canvassing a range of alternative fee measures which would still see substantial fee rises.  The 2016 Budget also sees an efficiency dividend of $1.2 billion on legislated dropped but the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program has been cut by $152 million to $553 million over four years.  The Office of Learning and Teaching has been abolished, with the resulting $18 million in … [Read more...]

A few cuts, no thrills for unis in 2016 Budget

4 May 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The government has pushed consideration of proposed university reforms, including a 20% cut in funding, out beyond the election, until 1 January 2018 and it has ruled out full fee deregulation.  It has released an options paper, to guide a consultation process, canvassing a range of alternative fee measures. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The 2016 Budget also sees an efficiency dividend of $1.2 billion on legislated dropped but the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program has been cut by $152 million to $553 million over four years.  The Office of Learning and Teaching has been abolished, with the resulting $18 … [Read more...]

The year to date

11 March 2016 There’s a lot to catch up with but, as they say, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (which is, according to the estimable Wiktionary, an epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes (“The Wasps”), meaning “the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”)  VET FEE-HELP   As previously reported, changes to the VET FEE-HELP (VFH)  scheme legislated late last year provides some better protection of students from the carpetbaggers who have looted the scheme and dudded the students.  The government proposes to spend this year look at ways to rort-proof it from the likes of Phoenix.  But as so many people have asked: how … [Read more...]

The Scan #175 11 December 2015

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ News __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ VET FEE-HELP skewering system   11 December 2015      |       Explosive growth in the VET FEE-HELP scheme has masked massive direct public disinvestment in vocational education and training. While a report by NCVER shows a notional growth of 1.7% in 2014 over 2013 (plus $141.0 million, from $8512.4 million to $8653.4 million), it’s all in VET-FEE Help payments: actual direct expenditure by governments, … [Read more...]

How teaching funds research in Australian universities

28 November 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… A report by the Grattan Institute report finds that universities earn up to $3.2 billion more from students than they spend on teaching, and have powerful incentives to spend the extra money on research. International students, who usually generate more revenue per student than domestic students, contribute a substantial proportion of this surplus. The report’s author, Andrew Norton, says the finding is concerning because, while university research matters to Australia, the evidence that it improves teaching is less clear. He observes that direct spending on teaching, by contrast, is far more likely to ensure that universities … [Read more...]

The Scan # 170 29 May 2015

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ News __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Victorian  unis "financially strong" 29 May 2015    |   The Victorian Auditor General has reported that Victoria’s eight universities are in a strong financial position but he was critical of lax procedures governing travel expenditure. The eight universities, and their subsidiaries, generated a combined surplus of $537.1 million for the year ending 31 December 2014. This includes, however, audit adjustments … [Read more...]

Keeping public priorities in public universities

The Conversation     |      28 May 2015 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………   The main purposes of Australian public universities — teaching, research and community engagement — are well established in law and practice. But differences of opinion exist on priorities, interpretation and accountability. A key tension is between academics as the strongest advocates of knowledge for its own sake, and government, students and the general public seeking practical uses for knowledge, writes Andrew Norton. …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   For academics, passion for a field of study, opportunity to develop new knowledge, and autonomy in working life are among the most … [Read more...]

Grattan Newsletter 19 May 2015

  Budget Policy This year’s Budget might be good politics but the long-term costs of a timid budget are insidious and they fall heavily on middle-income earners, young people and people who are not even born, write Grattan Institute CEO John Daley and Grattan Fellow Danielle Wood in The Australian. The Budget is likely to keep more people happy than the 2014 Budget, but it not only does nothing to address Australia’s long-term budgetary challenges, it is built on denial that we have a problem at all, write John Daley and Danielle Wood in The Conversation. Three days after the Budget, Commonwealth Treasury Secretary John Fraser made his only public statement on the Budget and … [Read more...]

The Scan # 169 15 May 2015

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ GDP spending on higher education set to fall to half OECD average 15 May 2015    |    Spending on higher education as a proportion of GDP will fall from 0.56% in 2015 down to 0.48% in 2018, well below the OECD average of 1%, an analysis of the 2015 Budget figures has determined. According to Vin Massaro, an honorary professorial fellow with the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, higher education spending is slated to drop from $9.3bn in 2015, to $8.9bn in 2016, $9.1bn in 2017 and back to $9.3bn in 2018, representing a drop in GDP every year. … [Read more...]