Back in the budget the feds committed to slugging universities for some the costs incurred in running the higher education course cost loan programme. According to Education Minister Dan Tehan, who has introduced the required legislation into parliament, the charge will bring HE providers into line with the already slugged VET sector. Providers will be charged on the basis of enrolments, but how much is unknown, with the bill, stating the amount will be set by ministers via regulation. This alarms university lobbies, ““The legislation seeks very broad ministerial powers to tax higher education providers …this would be a significant change from current legislative funding arrangements. It would place such decisions in the hands of the minister rather than the parliament,” Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson says.
Conor King from the Innovative Research Universities expands the argument. “The charge is a rort. Universities support students access the HELP system, so that the government pays their student charge for them. Billing universities for a service provided to students is hardly a fair or transparent way of further reducing funding to actually education those students.”