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IRU report: Impact of the Demand Driven System

Ten years ago in May 2009, the then Government’s 2009 Federal Budget announced the uncapping of the number of funded places for undergraduate study. The uncapping of places became known as the “demand driven” system of higher education funding.

The demand driven system ended in late 2017 when the Commonwealth Grant Scheme was frozen at 2017 levels, effectively capping the number of students that can now enrol.

To mark 10 years since the introduction of a demand driven funding system for university places, the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) group has released new analysis of the key achievements of the system.

Impact of the Demand Driven System 2009-2017 illustrates five key achievements of the demand driven system and its benefits for Australians:

  1. More Australian students went to university
  2. The biggest increase was for science and health courses, not law and arts
  3. Students from low socioeconomic backgrounds more likely to enroll
  4. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students almost doubled
  5. The number of regional and remote students increased but slowly.

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.

The intent of the policy was to:

  • increase higher education attainment
  • support growth in key areas for the economy
  • reduce inequities in access by people from backgrounds underrepresented in universities.

Overall, the IRU believes demand driven funding improved outcomes for all three objectives.

Read the overview document and media briefing

Read the full report, Impact of the Demand Driven System 2009-2017