Uni union budget bid: “eventually” eliminate student fees and restore public funding now

The National Tertiary Education Union’s budget bid urges the government to reverse course on HE funding. “Rather than treating public expenditure on higher education and research as a fool-proof investment opportunity, recent Australian governments of both political persuasions have used higher education as something from which to extract major budgetary savings.”

The union adds the, “high degree of uncertainty” in tertiary education funding and regulation also means Australia needs an independent agency to prevent inconsistent policy and “opportunistic funding cuts.”

And it says student fees for Commonwealth Supported student Places should “eventually” be eliminated. In the meantime, the repayment threshold for study debt should rise to average weekly earnings.

Among many other measures, the union also calls for;

* a restoration of public funding for each student enrolled

* indexation based on the now discontinued HE grants index

* an increase in R&D funds, to 2.5 per cent of GDP and more autonomy for researchers

* “financial incentives” for universities to “reduce their reliance on casual and limited term staff

* returning real public funding for VET student places to the 2012 per hour figure

* “severely restrict access” funding for non-TAFE training providers, except for “identified courses skills shortage”


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