Investing in all our people

31 Jul 2008

This submission to the federal government's Higher Education Review recommends a complete overhaul of the structure and financing model of tertiary education in Australia in order to increase participation in post secondary education and deepen the skills base of those already in the workforce. The submission argues that if Australia aspires to perform among the best OECD countries in terms of tertiary education attainment, the number of tertiary qualified people would need to be increased by 1.7 million.

The submission recommends the development of tertiary education "systems" made up of different types of institutions united by a shared mission. Students within a system would have rights to articulation and credit transfer. Those who complete a preparatory program would have an entitlement of entry to an award course in the system. This approach would widen opportunities for potential learners from diverse backgrounds including those from low-income households, Indigenous Australians and adults with no previous experience of tertiary education.

Other key recommendations include:

• reform of the student income support arrangements to ensure that payments are strictly targeted to assist students in the greatest financial need;

• the adoption of a student driven financing model which empowers students to determine the programs they wish to pursue.

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