Consultation on the future of higher education reform



As part of the 2014–15 Budget, the Government announced an ambitious package of higher education reforms to address the challenges facing the higher education sector. These reforms were intended to strengthen the higher education system and ensure Australia is not left behind at a time of rising performance by universities around the world, foster greater innovation in education offerings and to widen opportunity and access to support the growing diversity of student needs and aspirations.

Informed by the discussions of the last six months, the Government has released a paper, Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education, which sets out options for reform that support the Government’s vision of a stronger, more sustainable system of higher education. The Government is seeking feedback on the individual elements of a new higher education reform package to be considered later in 2016.

To facilitate this consultation, the Government has taken the decision to delay implementation of the reforms by a further year to 2018. The Government will also not be pursuing full fee deregulation for Commonwealth supported places. It will consider future arrangements, including options for some form of fee flexibility, as part of its consultation on the future of higher education.

The Government welcomes feedback on the ideas presented in this paper. The Government will continue to consult with students, parents, employers, higher education providers and peak bodies on its reform proposals. To assist in this process, the Government has appointed an expert advisory panel to provide advice on the content and implementation of the final package.

Public submissions are now available.

Cost of Delivery Report

  • The department commissioned Deloitte Access Economics on 29 September 2016 to conduct the cost of delivery of higher education teaching and scholarship consultancy.

  • The cost of delivery project used data from 17 universities, representing a cross section of the higher education sector including metropolitan, regional, research intensive, both small and large institutions and those with mostly internal students and those with mixed mode of delivery (i.e. internet delivery).  

  • The findings of the report were used to inform the Government decisions regarding the appropriate level of funding for higher education institutions.

  • The Cost of Delivery of Higher Education Final Report is now available online.

Estimating the public and private benefits of higher education

  • The department commissioned Deloitte Access Economics on 17 June 2016 to estimate the relative public and private benefits for higher education with breakdowns for disciplines, qualification levels (sub‑bachelor, bachelor and postgraduate coursework), and for types of higher education provider.

  • The findings informed the development of the higher education reform package announced by the Minister for Education and Training on 1 May 2017.

  • The Estimating the public and private benefits of higher education report is now available online.