Government denies making concessions for tertiary reforms

Government denies making concessions for tertiary reforms

The Federal Government has reportedly revealed it is willing to reign in changes to Higher Education, in order to ensure some of the legislation passes, but the government has denied the claims.

The government needs the support of key crossbenchers, to ensure its controversial legislation passes the Senate next week.

Labor, The Greens and the Palmer United Party have all confirmed they will not support the measures announced in the May budget.

Fairfax is reporting today the government is willing to make concessions, including reducing the 20 per cent course funding cut to 12 to 15 per cent and delaying the expansion of Commonwealth funding to private colleges by three years.

The government is also reportedly considering funding a structural adjustment package to help universities transition to a free-market system.

But Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has denied the reports this morning.

“It looks like a grab bag of wish lists from certain people but it’s certainly not the government’s position – Fairfax strikes again,” Mr Pyne said on Channel 9 this morning.

“I’ve said all along we’d negotiate, right, and we will negotiate but this grab bag of certain changes is all news to me.”

Budget measures for Higher Education

  • Reduce repayment threshold for HELP (Higher Education Loan Program) debts from an annual wage of  $51,309 to $50,638 from July 1 2016; increase interest rates on the loans to the Government bond rate which is capped at 6 per cent. These two measures will save $3.2 billion over four years from 2014-15.
  • Deregulate fees to allow universities, TAFEs and colleges to charge market-driven rates for courses. This will save $1.1 billion over three years from 2015-16, representing a 20 per cut in federal government funding for course fees.
  • Commonwealth scholarships for disadvantaged students will be funded by contributions from higher education providers, who will be required to contribute $1 out of every $5 raised through fee increases.
  • Open up HELP loans to an additional 80,000 students at TAFEs and colleges, costing $371.5 million over three years.
  • Remove the 25 per cent loan fee on FEE-HELP loans, which are available for domestic fee-paying students whose places are not subsidised by the Government. Remove the 20 per cent loan fee on VET FEE-HELP loans, which is for vocational students studying at diploma level and above. This measure will cost the government $723.2 million over 3 years.
  • Abolish HECS-HELP Benefit, which supported certain graduates to work in specified locations – saves $87.1 million over three years.
  • Cut $173.7m funding over three years to the Research Training Scheme, allowing universities to charge doctoral students to cover the gap.
  • Cut $121.1m over five years for Higher Education Reward Funding paid when enrolment targets are met.
  • Impose a 3.25 per cent efficiency dividend to the Australian Research Council in 2015-16, saving $74.9 million over three years.
(Source: ABC)

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Amy Whittaker
Amy Whittaker 1402 posts

Amy joined the NRN team in August 2011, before graduating from a B of Arts (Communication-Journalism)/B of Sports Studies from Charles Sturt University in December 2011.

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