Title

Notre Dame proposes an alternative university funding model to the Australian Government Higher Education Review

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 6-16-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place

Fremantle

Abstract

The Vice Chancellor of Notre Dame appeared before the Australian Government Review Panel Chaired by Professor Denise Bradley in Sydney on 18 June, 2008. He put forward the following funding model as a proposed alternative to the present arrangement: Notre Dame’s Proposal to the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education: A New Funding Model for the Sector

1. The basic funding model for undergraduate studies at Australian universities should be changed to become ‘student centred’ rather than ‘institution centred’. The central focus should be the entitlement of all qualified Australian citizens to a Commonwealth Scholarship for an undergraduate education ( a first degree or a first professional qualification at the Bachelors or Masters level) in the course or university of their choice, if available. The role and obligation of the Australian Government is to determine:

  • Minimum academic standards for eligibility for first degree Commonwealth Scholarships.
  • The maximum number of university undergraduate places in specific universities which will be available for Commonwealth Scholarships in some key disciplines (e.g. Medicine).
  • The ‘licencing’ of universities as self accrediting institutions where the Commonwealth Scholarships are tenable. Licences to be ‘renewed’ every 15 years.
  • The value of Commonwealth Scholarships in each discipline, the amount to be paid by way of Commonwealth subsidy, and the maximum amount to be paid by the student (supported by an interest free income contingent loan).

2. For second undergraduate degree and higher degree candidates (other than those for whom a Masters degree is a first professional qualification) tuition fees should be payable at the level decided by the university, supported by interest-free, income–contingent Commonwealth loans (HECS equivalent).

3. The present policy and nomenclature identifying ‘public’ and ‘private’ universities and Table A and Table B Providers should be abolished. It makes no sense and is unequitable. It discriminates especially against low SES and indigenous students.

4. Universities should expand or contract according to institutional policy, the choices of students, and the related quality and attractiveness of what the universities offer.

5. The Australian Government should be the prime source of capital for essential infrastructure and maintenance of Australian universities, with State Governments providing low interest loans to support new projects and upgrading / maintenance of facilities.

6. The Australian Government should be the prime source of basic research funding and contestable research grants in Australian universities, and for the provision of post-graduate research scholarships (APA’s), with APA recipients receiving their scholarships directly from the Commonwealth and taking them to the university of their choice. 7. Quality monitoring and control of courses should be the responsibility of State and National accrediting bodies.

Dr Peter Tannock