Update 27/8/20: A funding floor has now been inserted in the Job-ready Graduates bill, albeit with some remaining issues.
As expected, the legislation for Dan Tehan’s higher education policy would formally repeal the Higher Education Support Act‘s bachelor-degree demand driven funding provisions, with a small exception for regional Indigenous students.
Funding for Commonwealth supported bachelor degree students has been capped since the end of 2017, so this might seem like just a formality. But in reality the repeal involves a major structural change, one that could undermine important higher education policy objectives.
Even though section 30-27(1) of HESA 2003 created a power to cap, section 30-27(3) required that the capped amount be at least the previous year’s funding level. The only way that a university could get less money than the previous year was by enrolling too few students, reducing their payment under the demand driven funding formula (section 33-5(5)). In effect, the link to previous Commonwealth payments created a funding floor that the government could only lower with parliamentary approval.Read More »