Government to unis: work with what you’ve got

Education Minister Dan Tehan’s Sunday announcement was designed to maximise positive community impact and take the air out of funding complaints

The minister committed to

* funding providers for existing domestic student levels for the rest of the year – regardless of reduced enrolments

* fees paid by institutions under the government’s new user-pay requirements for regulators TEQSA and AQSA will be repaid/waived

* students at private HE providers will now not pay the 20 per cent loan fee to access the HELP scheme.

Mr Tehan’s major initiative is short courses in National Priority areas such as nursing, teaching, health, IT and science.

“This plan will help Australians who have lost their job or are looking to retrain to use their time studying nursing, teaching, counselling, allied health or other areas considered national priorities. It will also provide a revenue stream for universities and private providers to assist their financial stability,” the minister said.

There is sparse public detail how these “diploma certificates”  and graduate certificates will be funded by the feds, but Mr Tehan says universities are ready to go. In a radio interview yesterday he cited courses from Swinburne U, Western Sydney U and Uni SA as set to start.

Mr Tehan is on the front foot with this announcement, which will resonate in the community.