NTEU Media Release: Base funding review confirms universities are at breaking point
The Federal Government’s report into the adequacy of higher education funding confirms Australia’s universities are approaching breaking point and in urgent need of increased investment if they are to continue to offer world class teaching, research and community service, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said on Thursday.
“Based on an analysis of costs, the report concludes that on average, current levels of base funding are 22% below the costs associated with teaching, research and ‘unfunded’ research,” said Jeannie Rea, NTEU President.
“The report found Australian universities generally measure up as being of high quality, but increased investment per student is required to improve the quality of teaching on international indicators of staff-student ratios, student engagement and satisfaction.”
“The report demonstrates that the current ‘cluster’ funding arrangements fail to reflect the real costs associated with delivering high quality education supported by scholarship and base research capacity.”
“The report is clear that our universities are in urgent need of increased investment if they are expected to offer the world class teaching, research and community service expected of them by the Australian public.”
“The recommendations are framed around a number of important underlying principles including that base funding should cover all core activities, specifically teaching, scholarship and core research capacity.”
“Overall, NTEU is encouraged by the report and looking forwarding to further discussions with the Government and other stakeholders about its implementation.”
“We strongly support the recommendations that loadings for disadvantaged students be allocated on a per student basis and increase as the number of students from low SES backgrounds grow.”
“The recommendation that universities be given ‘top up’ funding for students enrolled in flagship courses is also an interesting idea worth further consideration.”
“The report recommends major changes to the current cluster funding system, including reducing the number of clusters and asking all students to make a 40% contribution to cost of their course regardless of the discipline in which they are enrolled,” said Ms Rea. “These reforms could have significant impacts on students and some institutions and require further analysis.”
For further information and comment:
Jeannie Rea, NTEU President: 0434 609 531
Andrew Nette, NTEU National Media Officer: 0431 217 131