Many of our initial concerns arising from the Issues Paper have been taken into account. In particular we are very pleased to note that the CTS is now available for part-time students, and for those not in receipt of an APA. The
breadth of the training has also improved. We remain concerned about how distance education students may be catered for.
8.90.1 and 8.95
Some smaller and newer universities are developing their research capacity by prioritising commercialisation and industry links. These institutions (and their students) should not be prevented by their size, research income, and
relative newness from accessing the scheme.
We would not want to see a situation where the wealthier universities are able to offer 6 months training on full scholarship while students at other universities received a minimal amount of training and no income support. We support flexibility in delivery but this should not extend to denying some participants a living allowance. Equitable treatment is incongruent with the provision of living allowances to only some of the participants. Living allowance should be available to all students participating in the CTS. This allowance should be of the same value as the scholarship the student is on or the equivalent of an APA (whichever is greater). This must also be available to students who are studying part-time or by distance.
This item appears to mean that students are being ‘encouraged’ to participate in the CTS early in their course. This may not be the most appropriate time for many students. Further clarification of this item with regard to eligibility criteria is needed. For example if a student applied for the CTS 12 months into their course, under the entitlement provisions of this section it would appear that they are ineligible for CTS funding.
Attachment: CAPA Submission
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) welcomes the opportunity to contribute its views on the DEST discussion paper. CAPA is the national peak body of postgraduate student organisations representing Australia’s 257,700 postgraduate students, including 47,300 research students and 261,500 students undertaking coursework qualifications.
First and foremost, CAPA rejects the DEST discussion paper statement that “the transition fund will ensure that the sector can adjust to the changed funding environment by facilitating a shift from reliance on compulsory fees to other mechanisms.” CAPA believes that the transition fund is
(i) grossly undervalued and
(ii) will discriminate against all service and advocacy providers except for sporting and recreation bodies.
To this extent, CAPA agrees with the AVCC statement that the transition fund must be broadened to include other service, advocacy and representative bodies on campus.
It is CAPA’s contention that the transitional fund will provide little to no relief for the vast majority of student associations or service providers outside sport and recreation. CAPA further contends that the only benefit the transition fund will ensure is that sporting fields and pitches will be immaculate through the generous allocation of resources to purchase high quality turf, fertilizers, bindi weed killer and insecticides – and that no substantial sporting programs will be achieved.