University of South Australia
UK experience signposts Australia’s future
At the University & Colleges Union (UCU) we have been following recent events in Australia closely. Your government’s plans to increase student fees and to open up the sector to for-profit providers are depressingly familiar to staff and students in English higher education. On a more positive note, it has been fantastic to see the level of protests in Australia at the proposed fee changes and budget cuts!
The UK experience
What has been happening in England regarding fees, debt and the overall sustainability of the loan system? Since 2012-13 universities in England have been able to charge up to £9000 a year for new full-time undergraduates. As in Australia students don’t pay upfront fees but are required to take up a government-backed loan, which is paid back after graduation. Graduates must repay 9% of their gross income above a certain level of annual income (the current threshold is £25,000). Interest rates on loans vary from 0–3% above the inflation
How often do you hear NTEU representatives mumble ‘General – oh and/or Professional staff’? For our first two decades, the NTEU had two major sections of membership – academic and general. Academics are easily identified as members of that profession and classified as such. Two unions covering academic staff in universities and colleges were part of the original merger to form the NTEU. There were also three General Staff unions covering university and associated staff, and Victorian TAFE staff who were called PACCT staff. Over time, allied sections of other unions in universities joined us along with research and other allied institutions’ staff.
Describing staff who cover many occupations with many qualifications has become more complex. Universities are favouring the term ‘Professional’, but not everyone has a professional position. There is a ‘third space’ but this is of concern to academics particularly as there is more talk of ‘unbundling’ the academic role. We asked three leading General Staff members to
Given the overwhelming evidence on the impact of deregulation and other higher education policy changes proposed by the Federal Government, it should come as no real surprise that more women are ...
The Minister for Education Christopher Pyne has dismissed modelling of the impacts of deregulating university fees and imposing real interest on student debt undertaken by the National Centre for ...
Some of the more questions frequently asked about the impacts of Christopher Pyne’s proposed changes to higher education include what impact they are likely to have on the cost of getting an Australian university degree and how this will compare to the rest of the world.
While we do not know exactly how much the cost of university degree in Australia will increases as rest of the government allowing universities and other providers offering Commonwealth supported places to charge whatever price they think the market will bear. The NTEU’s analysis of factors determining likely prices rises and what impact this will have on students is the subject of a fact sheet called How much will a uni degree cost?
The purpose of this note however, is compare how much it costs to undertake an undergraduate university degree in Australia compared to the rest of the world. In order to ensure that we are comparing universities of similar standing we have used data on university fees included in QS World University Ranking Top 500 for 2013. The data presented in Figure 1 (also see Table 1) show both the average fee charged to undergraduate students by universities in the Top 500 in each country with at least 3 universities in the top 500. It also shows range (top and bottom) of average fees charged by the different universities in each country.
The Federal Budget claims to create a new ‘Commonwealth Scholarship’ scheme but, in reality it cuts $800 million from the existing scheme, trashes the Liberal legacy of Menzies and Nelson, and makes things worse for low-income students.
Before Whitlam abolished fees, Menzies had in place a widespread system of Commonwealth Scholarships (CS) which paid for tuition fees and provided a living
There has been intense activity at several Branches over the last few months, with industrial action reported in the last edition of Advocate at the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland (UQ) resulting in finalised Agreements. More recently, staff have taken action at University of Technology, Sydney, Macquarie University and Navitas (La Trobe) in pursuit of fair Agreements.
Agreements completed and close
Staff at Monash University and UQ were set to be balloted at the time of writing, with the Agreements delivering annual pay rises of 3% and 3.1% respectively.
Other Agreements that have been approved, or are before Fair Work Commission for approval, include the University of New England, Flinders University, University of South Australia, University of Western Sydney, La Trobe University and QUT. The Macquarie University Academic Staff Agreement has also been finalised.
The Bargaining State of Play table shows an overview of pay and conditions achieved in all completed
This year’s Bluestocking Week theme is ‘Crossing the Line’. How could it be otherwise? The line has been crossed already, not by us but by the Abbott Coalition Government and their advocates and supporters, who are seeking to wind back the clock as they actively attack pro-women and feminist policies and perspectives. We cannot stand on the sideline, but have to cross the line ourselves.
Last year, we focused on what the future may hold as it looked like the outcome of the federal election would be a neo-conservative Coalition Government.
The National Union of Students (NUS) announced early last year that ‘Our bluestockings are on the line.’ NTEU responded in August arguing that we must ‘hold the line’, defending equity and accessibility in universities, highlighting the value of education in a progressive society, and underlining the need to maintain a quality higher education sector through appropriate levels of public
Polling commissioned by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) shows that 70% of Australians oppose university fee increases for students and that higher education reforms are one of the most unpopular measures in the budget.
The figures confirm that the community are angry about the broken election commitment not to alter university funding arrangements, as well as policies that would see students from poorer backgrounds locked out of quality education.
“These are budget measures that Christopher Pyne and the Government kept secret before the election for a reason,” said Jeannie Rea, NTEU National