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ATN welcomes opportunity for further consultation and negotiation on higher education reform

With Parliament rising today, the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) welcomes the opportunity to negotiate with Senators over the summer break to deliver a world-class and equitable higher education system. 

ATN Director Renee Hindmarsh said “the ATN welcomes the moves by Government to amend the legislation, including retaining indexation of outstanding student debt by the Consumer Price Index, rather than the 10-year bond rate as previously proposed. The ATN also welcomes the pause on HECS indexation for primary carers of a child under five years of age”. 

“The ATN cautiously supports the notion of a structural adjustment fund to transition to a deregulated system, but consistent with the Universities Australia position, notes that this package needs to be considerably larger than currently proposed”. 

“However, we are concerned that the new scholarship fund within the Higher Education and Participation Program for universities with high proportions of low SES students may have unintended consequences and perverse outcomes. By only focusing on proportion, rather than headcount, a number of universities with large numbers of low SES students could be stripped of funding to support them.” 

“Disadvantaged people are everywhere, not just in the country. We want to see a system where all students are supported, regardless of their postcode”. 

“The ATN also urges the new Bill to be amended to reduce the 20 per cent cut. A cut of this

magnitude would put significant upward pressure on student fees, something the ATN does not support.” 

“We look forward to working with all Senators over the summer break to help deliver an equitable and sustainable, world-class higher education system”, Ms Hindmarsh said.