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The Scan in 2015

 26 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… On account of other pressing matters in 2015 published editions of The Scan, with a completely refreshed front page heralded to subscribers by an e-newsletter, were down quite a bit – just 21 in 2015 compared to 40 in in 2014. Nevertheless, some 350 items were posted, which is about 8 a week in The Scan’s year, a little down on the 10 items posted a week last year. Traffic to the Scan website remained strong, down about 20% on last year’s figures. The Scan’s now extensive archive of nearly 3000 posts creates “organic” traffic: over one third of all Scan traffic now flows from search engines and referrals. Regular readers will have … [Read more...]

Universities warned to brace for funding cut

The Australian     |     1 July 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Universities have been warned their funding will be cut by 20% almost immediately, an average of $32 million a university, if the government can get its higher education reform package through the Senate by the end of the year. The legislation,  rejected by the Senate in March, was due to be reintroduced during the budget sittings of Parliament  but has been left to "lie fallow" as education  minister Christopher Pyne presumably cultivates the Senate crossbenchers.  Most informed commentary is that the legislation has little prospects of passing in its present form.   So will the government amend the bill? … [Read more...]

The Scan #167 16 April 2015

Student debt growing rapidly as compliance declines 16 April 2015   |    With student debt ballooning, reform of the FEE-HELP system (HECS) is now a pressing budget issue with the nation’s second biggest financial asset, after the Future Fund, being eroded as one in five debtors renege on their loans. That figure is expected to rise to 25% by 2017. The government will have more than $70 billion in unpaid university student loans on its books in another two years, double the figure owed in 2013-14. According to researchers Richard Highfield and Neil Warren, the loans system is being compromised by successive governments’ commitment to increasing participation in tertiary education while not … [Read more...]

Mistakes were made

16 April 2015 Failure of the deregulation package and the way ahead ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The failure of the government to carry the Senate on its proposed higher education reforms can be put down to the government’s arrogance and heavy-handedness and what would politely be called its disingenuousness. Parts of the package were not without considerable merit – for example, extending public subsidies to the students of non-university higher education providers is a long overdue fairness measure and extending them generally to sub-degree programs could considerably improve retention rates. But overall, the package was seen to be poorly conceived and fundamentally … [Read more...]

The social costs of high university charges

15 April 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… This is an extract from Bruce Chapman's submission to a Senate Committee inquiry into higher education fee deregulation (February 2015) in which he proposes a "progressive tax" on university funding as a means of constraining fees.  He suggest sthe question of what the “right” price to charge students for public sector university teaching services  "is not an argument that can be made easily with reference to economic theory or compelling evidence related to allocative efficiency. It is instead basically an ethical issue." ……………………………………………………………………………………………….......…… It needs to be asked: Does it matter that … [Read more...]

ACPET National Monday Update Edition 599, 13 April 2015

  In Focus Private VET sector not broken Australia has  fantastic private VET colleges delivering high quality support to students and great outcomes. However, we also have a more negative side that the media is shining the spotlight on. I must ask myself at times like these, is the VET sector actually broken, or does the private sector play a legitimate role? Let’s go to the data: Private tertiary education injects $5.8 billion per year to the national economy, employ almost 100,000 people and educate 1.4 million students. 1670 of the 4500 private RTOs received government funding in 2013 and enrolled 28% of students. In a sign quality … [Read more...]

ACPET National Monday Update 23 March 1015

In Focus The week that was... Edition 596, 23 Mar The Higher Education reforms did not pass the Senate. Not a surprise, however it was certainly disappointing for the industry and students studying in non-University Higher Education Providers. Because a new model for higher education funding is so necessary, more effort is required. It is time for us all to work together the find a solution to the current impasse that is creating uncertainty and risking the quality of Australia’s higher education system. There are actually many areas of common ground. The reforms are too important to let wither on the vine. The future of our sector and that of current and future … [Read more...]

How to break the higher education impasse

The Conversation   |    9 February  2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The fragile consensus within Universities Australia around support for the government’s fee deregulation package has begun to fracture (it was always chimerical), with Victoria University vice-chancellor Peter Dawkins proposing a “third way” between a high degree of regulation and unfettered regulation that combines managed deregulation with a stronger equity package and oversight. Canberra’s Stephen Parker has opposed the package from the get-go, with a number of other vice-chancellors having expressed reservations, including Swinburne vice-chancellor Linda Kristjanson (Swinburne), Jane den Hollander … [Read more...]

Newcastle quits IRU

The Australian     |      22 December 2014 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Newcastle University has quit the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) group saying it would rather advocate for its own particular interests in light of proposed government funding cuts and fee deregulation. Along with other university groupings and Universities Australia, the IRU has been a vocal advocate for proposed fee deregulation. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Caroline McMillen, Newcastle’s vice-chancellor, said the university’s research intensiveness in a low socioeconmic region put pressures on her institution that were not necessarily mirrored by the IRU’s other member … [Read more...]

MYEFO budget measures

ACPET    |     22 December 2014 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), released on 15 December, updates the economic and fiscal outlook from the budget in May.  Following is a summary prepared by ACPET of savings and expenditure measures relevant to the education, employment and training sectors. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The Support for Adult Apprentices payment has been wound up, with loans being offered through the Trade Support Loans scheme as a replacement measure, the new Australian Apprenticeships Support Services will have reduced funding, down $30million over 4 year as a result of “streamlining” … [Read more...]