Demand driven funding: gone and now forgotten

Dan Tehan’s authority over higher education funding is now unchallenged

The return of demand driven funding was a live issue in the election, with many in the HE policy community assuming a Labor win. They know better now and have accepted that the performance-driven growth funding formula announced this week is all they are going to get, certainly while the coalition is in office.

University lobbies have lined-up to accept the performance-linked funding measures set out in the government-approved Wellings Panel paper (CMM yesterday), and yesterday new Universities Australia chair Deborah Terry (VC-Curtin U) was making nice.

The government’s funding freezecreated difficulties for universities but it did come after a period of rapid growth,” she told ABC RN’s Patricia Karvelas.

And Professor Terry got in behind Mr Tehan’s announcement that, the $80m performance funding pool will, “incentivise universities to focus on their core-business, producing job-ready graduates.”

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that we can provide the graduates to support and drive our economic prosperity,” she said.

Professor Terry also declined an opportunity to find fault with the proposed metrics, “what the panel has done, I think very carefully, is to consider the four key measures, to look at how, in a sense, thresholds can appropriately be set … that take into account a range of different factors.”

This is certainly in-line with her position when she took over at UA, telling CMM “a one size fits all model is hard to apply, … arrangements need to be nuanced.”

So, what happens next? Work in the policy weeds followed by a meeting with the minister at the end of the month, where UA will provide member feedback. There may be discussion of details but Mr Tehan has won.

“Demand driven what?” Mr Tehan now commands an authority in HE that Chris Pyne and Simon Birmingham never managed.


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