The Red Tape Returns: HE Reforms Create a Three Year Plan For Participation

The proposal outlined by the Department of Education (25 June 2014) that there be three year Access and Participation Plans as part of the revamped Higher Education Participation Program (HEPP) indicates that the Government is on the verge of failing an early test of its capacity to carry through its undoubted commitment to reduce unnecessary reporting, pointless acquittals and ineffective accountability.

Rather than unleash the bonds around the previous Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) the Government on current plans will merely alter the shape of the knots.

To provide universities with a clear incentive to improve enrolments of students from low socioeconomic status (Low SES) backgrounds the Review of Higher Education (Bradley Review) recommended in 2008 the creation of a reward funding element. In accepting the proposal the then Government defined the element as “a financial incentive to expand the enrolment of low-SES students, and to fund the intensive support needed to improve their completion and retention rates.”