Private providers welcome more money – not everybody is happy

The feds have kicked $53m into support for HE private providers (CMM Friday) which peak bodies think is a splendid idea

Simon Finn (Independent Higher Education Australia) praised the package. “As uncertainty continues around the return of international students, it is becoming even more critical to stimulate domestic education markets through these kinds of competitive neutrality measures that support student enrolments.”

And he welcomed funding for market and product development, “ IHEA recognises the primary importance of ensuring the safety of the Australian community as the world navigates its way through new waves of the virus. While borders remain shut, we need to be looking at alternative education markets both on and off-shore. This innovation grant fund will enable independent providers to do just that, ensuring the best outcome for students and maintaining Australia’s global reputation for excellence in higher education.”

Troy Williams (Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia) was also pleased, “the measures will support independent tertiary education providers survive as the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic endures. The intervention by the Australian Government includes several initiatives that ITECA has been a strong advocate for.

“The package comes at a critical time.”

However, the National Tertiary Education Union warned that money for private providers did not address the problem, “international students want to come to Australia to learn face-to-face rather than on-line. But this is not happening because of the government’s continued border closures, which won’t change until the government gets it right with the COVID vaccination programme,” national president Alison Barnes warned.

And while she acknowledged the pandemic’s impact on private providers she pointed the pain endured in universities, stating jobs lost “could have been saved if the government had allowed universities to access JobKeeper or provided a real rescue package.”