Government silent on what unis will pay for new regional undergrad places

The regional universities that will share the $134m funding the government announced yesterday are pretty pleased. Lobbies representing the universities which will lose research funding growth to pay for the regional grants are not.

According to Education Minister Dan Tehan, the $92m to fund new undergraduate places will come from, “capping the growth funding for the Research Support Programme.” However, the government was not explaining yesterday how this would work and how much it would cost individual universities.

But whatever the amount, fewer funds for research upset Universities Australia. ““It is folly to be undermining the nation’s future by raiding precious research funding when Australia already spends far less than our economic competitors in the region and the world,” CEO Catriona Jackson said.

And the National Tertiary Education Union was “totally perplexed.”

“The irony is that the government’s freeze to university funding has hit hardest on regional universities, their students and communities and is the reason they require urgent additional support,” national president Alison Barnes said.

The Group of Eight was not best-pleased either. “All the minister has done is set in motion a funding decision that pits university against university and which will gradually see a drop in the world class research carried out by Australia’s university sector that sees seven Australian universities ranked in the world’s top 100 universities based on their research results,” CEO Vicki Thomson said.

It was a gift for Labor, which spokespeople Tanya Plibersek and Kim Carr unwrapped; “If Scott Morrison reversed his reckless decision to cut $2.2 billion from universities and cap places, the Liberals wouldn’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul by slashing research to pay for more student places, they said last night.


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education