The university rankings no government wants to talk about

25 Mar 2015

Looked at over time and ranked against other OECD countries, public funding of Australian universities is at a record-breaking low

At a conference of university leaders in early 2013, Tony Abbott promised “relative policy stability” in higher education if he became prime minister. A year later, Universities Australia began its first Abbott-era budget submission by welcoming “the undertaking of the government to preserve funding arrangements for higher education, including the commitment not to make further cuts to the sector.”

When it came, though, the Coalition’s first budget proposed cutting university funding by a breathtaking 20 per cent and removing the ceiling on university fees. Since then, the only stability in tertiary education policy has been education minister Christopher Pyne’s repeated attempts to have the Senate to pass those measures. With the threat of financial catastrophe hanging over the sector, Universities Australia has supported the government’s proposals for deregulation, arguing rather coyly that the funding system is broken, but not indicating who broke it…

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