15 May 2013 | The Gillard Government will invest $1.9 billion in Australian universities over the next four years to meet a surge in demand for places, including around 1,650 extra places per year for sub-bachelor and postgraduate training in teaching, nursing and Asian languages, according to tertiary education minister Craig Emerson. The funding includes an extra $346 million in the Budget to account for an upward revision in demand for places since October last year. Other measures include:
- $84.6 million over four years for up to 1650 places a year for sub-bachelor and postgraduate training in teaching, nursing and Asian languages
- $186 million to extend the funding of nationally significant research facilities for a further two years and
- $135 million to extend by one round the very successful Future Fellowships program to assist in attracting and retaining the rising starts of research
- Up to 150 fellowships of up to four years will be funded for an average of $210,000 a year, with another $50,000 for institutions to cover associated costs
- AsiaBound scholarship program, under which 10,000 students a year will be able to receive grants of up to $5000 to study in an Asian country, received $13m to keep it running it through to 2016-17.
In VET, from 1 July, the government will invest $45 million in a new Skills Connect Fund that will provide industry with a single point of access for skills and workforce development support. The Fund, a one-stop shop, will replace multiple interactions and complex application processes for businesses looking to up-skill and develop their workforce….[READ MORE]…..
15 May 2013 | The positive new higher education initiatives announced by the Government in the Budget have been welcomed by the university sector but are insufficient to offset the impact of the $3.8 billion worth of cuts to higher education expenditure announced by the Government over the past 6 months, according to Universities Australia. UA chief Belinda Robinson says the government has looked to higher education to do the heavy lifting in returning the budget to surplus:
The Government has reaffirmed that it intends to go ahead with the cuts, making the university sector one of the hardest hit in this budget. These reductions will challenge the ability of universities to maintain the quality of education and research. And by compromising the role that universities play in lifting national productivity and securing long-term economic prosperity, they will also make it more difficult to put the nation’s budget back in black.
15 May 2013 | TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) has welcomed Federal Budget 2013 allocations for a limited scheme for alternate skills pathway courses, with $97 million set aside for technical and trade qualifications, led by industry. The Budget confirmed funding for National Entitlement to Training, guaranteed under the National Partnership for Skills and Workforce Development with reward funds of $1.75 billion for states and territories. Nevertheless, TDA chief Martin Riordan expressed disappointment that skills policy “ranks far too low in Commonwealth priorities”. He pointed out that there has been a 75% increase in recent years for university-dominated Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs), including an additional 346 million this year. By contrast, under Labor, funds for skills has grown by under 50%…..[READ MORE]…..
15 May 2013 | Regional Universities Network (RUN) noted that, while the 2013 Federal Budget offers some minor funding increases for universities, it also implements the major cuts to funding for universities and student support announced by the Government in April. RUN chair David Battersby said that the cuts remain a major setback for the sector and regional….[READ MORE]…..
15 May 2013 | IRU chair Barney Glover acknowledges the Government has continued to support a major expansion in university places ,for this to work universities need the resourcing for high quality education that keeps pace with the requirements of the digital age and rapid changes in professional knowledge and skills. The efficiency dividend means that universities are permanently 3.25% less able to do this…..[READ MORE]…..
15 May 2013 | ATN chair Peter Coaldrake emphasised that, as welcome as Budget funding initiatives are, “the real cuts are deeper than financial ones addressed in the budget; they are the cost of the deterred aspiration of Australian students who will face yet another obstacle to achieving a university qualification from January 2014.”
The $1.2 billion in savings from converting the start-up scholarship to income contingent loans… is extending the disadvantage experienced by these students well into their working lives, which is an effect that is contrary to the premise of a university education.
15 May 2013 | Australian Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has handed down his sixth budget, facing an almost impossible task: how to reconcile an enormous revenue shortfall with big spending promises, all while keeping the voters happy in an election year? Ben Spies-Butcher reflects a common observation among The Conversation’s experts:
The Budget highlights an ongoing challenge for Labor, which has tried to pursue a sort of “low tax” social democracy. Australia has tried more than any other country to target assistance, promoting equity with very low taxes, but I think we are now seeing the limits of that strategy. We can have decent services or very low taxes – not both. The ongoing deficit is a sign of Australia’s low tax base.
Changing a grant into a loan strips away the Government’s significant achievement in substantially improving student income support that ensures all students have at least sufficient income while studying. The reward for being poor now is to have more debt in the future.
– Barney Glover, IRU