It is ten years since the demand driven system for funding university places was announced. The Government wanted to ensure that all Australians had the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills in the fields that drive them, as the basis for productive contribution to Australia’s future.
The IRU has consistently supported the policy which lets universities meet demand for higher education from the mix of population growth and increased employment need for graduates. IRU members are important contributors to these outcomes, especially the reduction in inequity of access for students from underrepresented groups.
We need Australians to follow their aspirations and graduate across all disciplines to be ready for the challenges ahead. The intent of the policy was to increase higher education attainment, support growth in key areas for the economy, and to reduce inequities in access by people from backgrounds underrepresented in universities.
To mark the tenth anniversary of demand driven funding, the IRU has published a report analysing the system’s key achievements. The analysis sets out:
- the increase overall in student enrollments and new graduates;
- the targeting of increases to health professions and science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates;
- the improved outcomes for students from low socio economic backgrounds;
- the improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; but
- lower levels of improvement for students from rural and remote areas.
The analysis is of Australian students enrolled in undergraduate programs, the students subject to demand driven arrangements.