In 2012, the Australian Government lifted previously imposed limits on the funding of bachelor-degree students at public universities. This new system was called ‘demand driven’ because it allowed universities to respond to student demand and allowed more students to benefit from higher education.
On 12 November 2013 Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne, appointed a review panel to look at and make recommendations in relation to the demand driven funding arrangements. The review panel comprised the Hon Dr David Kemp and Mr Andrew Norton and is known as the Norton-Kemp review.
The panel looked at the impacts of the demand driven system and whether it is increasing participation, improving access to students from poorer backgrounds and rural and regional areas, and meeting the skill needs of the economy. It explored whether there were any adverse impacts on quality and considered the long term sustainability of the system.
The report found that public universities have responded well to changes under the demand driven system and improved access for all students. It found the new system has allowed universities to be more responsive to student needs, driven innovation and lifted quality.
The reviewers made 19 findings and 17 recommendations, including extending the demand driven system to diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees, and to private universities and non-university higher education providers such as TAFEs.
The reviewers believe that extending the demand driven system will expand opportunities for students, and lead to further innovation in courses and modes of delivery, and in the quality of teaching and graduates.