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Certainty needed in Higher Education

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) today renewed its call to the Senate to deliver a sustainable and accessible higher education sector by passing a modified version of the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill. 

ATN Executive Director, Renee Hindmarsh, said that a continuation of the status quo would have serious consequences for the ability of Australian universities to operate a world-class demand driven system. 

“ATN Universities are improving access, providing high quality teaching and research to growing numbers of students. But as the student population grows, universities are being asked to provide for more, with less,” Ms Hindmarsh said. 

“Without action now, a sustainable funding base for our universities is not guaranteed.  It could signal the slow and painful demise of our globally respected higher education system.” 

“The ATN remains committed to delivering higher education that is accessible and affordable to all who are eligible,” Ms Hindmarsh said. 

“This year, more than 16,000 low SES students were provided financial assistance to study at ATN institutions through scholarships and bursaries. 

Ms Hindmarsh said the ATN supports a number of key amendments to the Bill that will ensure a sustainable and equitable system. 

“The ATN supports the introduction of the proposed commonwealth scholarship scheme, to be implemented by individual institutions, to operate alongside existing schemes.” 

“The proposed 20 per cent cut in the government contribution must be reduced and students should not be burdened with a loan scheme linked to the long-term bond rate” 

“Passing this Bill with these amendments, along with concrete mechanisms to moderate any unintended consequences of the transition to deregulations, will deliver certainty to the sector and secure the means for Australian universities to continue to deliver an equitable and successful higher education system.”