A sustainable Higher Education system
The Government is proposing a range of further initiatives to ensure that the higher education system is sustainable. These include:
Structural adjustment fund
To assist universities to transition to a more competitive market, particularly those in regional areas, the Government would provide $100 million for a structural adjustment fund.
Consolidated indexation of programmes
As part of a Government-wide decision to streamline and simplify indexation for programmes, the CPI would be applied to all grants and student contribution amounts under the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
A fair contribution from research students
Universities would be able to charge Research Training Scheme (RTS) students a modest contribution towards the cost of their degree to cover a small reduction in Government funding for the RTS (saving $173.7 million over three years). The decision to charge fees would be a matter for each institution to decide. HECS loans would be available so that RTS students would not have to meet these costs up front.
Universities would no longer receive Reward Funding payments for the achievement of enrolment targets. Competitive pressures driven by the higher education reforms would provide incentives for universities to enrol students, including from disadvantaged backgrounds, as will the Higher Education Participation Programme (saving $121.1 million over five years).
Australian Research Council
A one-off efficiency dividend would be applied to the ARC, consistent with the approach adopted to generate savings for Australian Government departments and statutory agencies (saving $74.9 million over three years).