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Demand-driven funding to benefit students
Australia’s higher education sector is set for major reforms: from January 2012 it will be transformed into a student-centered system for the first time in the nation’s history.
Under the Higher Education Support Amendment (Demand Driven Funding System and Other Measures) Bill 2011, which was recently introduced into parliament by the government, public universities will be funded based on student demand.
This will replace the old system where the government specified the number of undergraduate student places it would fund, which left students to compete for whatever was available.
According to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans , under this new legislation Australia is “moving away from a decades-old system of central planning in which, every year, universities negotiated student places with Canberra.
“For the first time, universities will be able to grow with confidence and diversify in response to student needs.”
For students commencing studies in 2012 and beyond, the system will be far more user-friendly. Universities will be granted the government funding for however many places in each discipline they decide to offer, which will be based upon student demand and industry demand.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
There will be more opportunities to study at university
- This new legislation was designed to help achieve the government’s target to make a university education accessible for all. They are aiming to increase the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds who hold a bachelor-level qualification to 40 per cent by 2025.
- There will be over 500,000 undergraduate student places in 2012. In total, the number of undergraduate student places will have increased by 20 per cent between 2008 and 2012.
Student places will be uncapped but entry requirements will remain
- Universities will still set the admission requirements for each course (which prospective students will have to meet) but the changes mean that admission scores won’t be inflated due to excessive student demand from the restrictions on the number of student places in each course.
- Course places will be uncapped, meaning that students who meet the entry requirements will perhaps no longer have to compete so fiercely for limited places in high-demand courses and experience the disappointment of missing out for reasons beyond their control.
There will be an increased number of students
- The new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) will ensure that universities maintain high quality standards for the increased number of students.
- The new services and amenities bill (which will impose a $250 annual fee on all students) will ensure there is adequate funding and maintenance of services and amenities for the increased number of students.