IRU Pre-budget 2017-8 submission

This 2017-18 pre-budget submission sets out the IRU’s recommendations for reworking the Government’s higher education reform package and the next stages needed to ensure effective research outcomes across Australia.

Without adequate funding however, universities will struggle to continue delivering the excellence in teaching and learning and research.  This excellence is underpinned by adequate and world-class research infrastructure.  As various reports and reviews have shown, it pays for governments to invest in higher education and research.

The points summarised below are detailed in the IRU’s response to the Government’s discussion paper outlined Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education’ and the IRU input to the development of the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.

The IRU’s central objectives for the medium term

  1. Retain demand driven funding as the core mechanism for supporting Australians gain the higher education they need, expanding it to include sub-degree enrolments.
  2. Ensure base university revenue is at a level which is sufficient to sustain universities’ core capabilities to deliver student learning outcomes and research to meet future needs
  3. Allow universities to opt in to changes with long term significance, testing out changes and encouraging incremental take up.

Key Recommendations

  1. A commitment to support each Australian achieve their potential with an initial expansion of sub-degree places, targeting regions of under attainment.
  2. Incorporating an effective Higher Education Participation and Partnerships (HEPPP) program into the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) with sufficient funding that it encourages universities to focus on enrolling students from all backgrounds and rewards those who do so best.
  3. Targeted support for universities with outer metropolitan and regional bases to support the effective Australia-wide access to university education and research.
  4. Reworking of the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) and student payments.
  5. Adjust HELP repayment arrangements in ways that speed up repayment but which do not affect the core elements of HECS-HELP.
  6. Committing to long-term funding for research infrastructure across Australia through the establishment of a national research infrastructure fund.
  7. Continue to strengthen incentives for industry driven research.

Read the full submission below.

Capping $$ – what does this really mean

A system of capped funding?

What does it mean to change university funding to a capped funding amount which universities can use as they will? Can it both give Government certainty of expenditure and protect universities from micro managing of their operations?

Under current arrangements universities receive base funding based on the load of enrolled students in particular discipline areas. There are also various additional amounts, some such as regional loading added through the main Commonwealth Grant Scheme, others controlled as Other Grants which includes the university research block grants.