If one in five international students don’t re-enrol, the loss of revenue would plunge half of all Australian universities into budget deficit or financial turmoil.
Now that Dan Tehan has steered the package through the parliament, the government and higher education sector will have to live with the consequences.
Three key policy errors in the legislation mean the Morrison government is unlikely to achieve the stated goals of its package.
The Nationals are demanding major changes to the government’s controversial planned new regime of higher education fees, declaring they would disadvantage regional communities and students.
Doubling the cost of degrees in the humanities and social sciences has a disproportionate impact on women because they account for two-thirds of the students.
The government’s higher education changes appear driven by three factors.
Australia has a long history of international student education, spurred on by government policy.
For every $1 lost in university tuition fees, there is another $1.15 lost in the broader economy. This means loss of university revenue can cost the Australian economy more than $40 billion by 2023.
Helping international students is in Australia’s best interest. Universities rely on them to stay afloat, and in 2018, Australian universities contributed $41 billion to the economy.
Th University of Nairobi. Universities in Kenya are struggling to keep afloat.
Kenya’s once financially healthy universities are in financial straits.
Students shut the University of the Witwatersrand down during protest action.
Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)
South Africa students are protesting and have brought university campuses to a stand still. This could have been avoided.
We need a tertiary education funding system that will help get students into courses with employment opportunities at the end of them.
If Labor is to once again uncap university funding, vocational education reform is a vital.
The storm clouds above South Africa’s universities could be dissipated with careful fiscal planning.
Alternative scenarios for tertiary funding in South Africa are set out in a completely separate report from the Davis Tax Committee drawing from work done by the higher education department.
Even with higher fees, higher education will still be worthwhile for most young people.
Earnings data suggest higher education remains financially attractive for most students, and the small proposed fee increases should not materially affect that.
Not everyone is in a position to start university straight away.
Students on ‘enabling’ courses may now have to pay substantial fees under higher education reforms.
Higher education reform means more pain for students and universities with long lasting consequences.
South Africa’s government is trying to approach student funding differently.
The ministerial task team’s report presents a jaundiced view of an important organisation that’s opened the doors of higher education to many who would otherwise have been closed out.
Universities are in the grip of a torrid period of change and disquiet.
It’s easy to understand why the government treats each student demand as distinct. But these are complex issues and they are intertwined.
More leadership is needed to tackle universities’ crises.
South Africa must address the root factors contributing to nationwide protests in the higher education sector or face dire consequences
Pension funds could be a powerful source of higher education financing.
Pension fund managers must consider environmental, social and governance issues when making investment decisions. The student funding crisis is a perfect example of a social issue.
There has been a great deal of research, planning and talking to come up with solutions to South Africa’s higher education funding crisis. Some of these plans must now be put into action.