2011 – Meeting Australia’s Research Workforce Needs – Consultation Paper Response

Attachment: CAPA Submission

With the recent change to the demand driven funding model and the release of the Lomax-Smith Base Funding Review, CAPA sees the opportunity for the government to redress the inequitable allocation of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) nationally. CAPA has developed the following principles around the support of and funding for CSPs nationally:

  • Access to higher education in Australia is an inalienable right.
  •  A high level of participation in higher education is of both public and private benefit. Such benefits may include but are not restricted to better health outcomes, higher income levels, higher levels of interpersonal trust, and higher productivity levels across society.
  • Base public funding should at least match private contributions to higher education.
  • Every postgraduate course of study should include some publicly-funded places.
  • The cost of postgraduate education should reflect the real cost of course delivery. The higher capacity to earn in some fields should be addressed through a taxation system rather than through higher course fees.
  • When setting fees, the capacity to pay should be balanced against the societal and individual consequences of carriage of debt after graduation.
  • Direct fees are not the only cost of higher education incurred by graduate students. Private contributions may include but are not restricted to foregone income, personal research expenses, and childcare costs.


  • Recommendation 1: That at least 50% of all postgraduate coursework places be offered as Commonwealth Supported Places, with all courses containing at least some Commonwealth Supported Places.
  • Recommendation 2: That every course include some Commonwealth Supported Places, which are offered on the basis on means testing as well as merit.
  • Recommendation 3: That all courses demarcated “Masters (Extended)”, and all postgraduate courses accredited at level 8 in the AQF, be substantially funded through Commonwealth Supported Places.
  • Recommendation 4: That postgraduate Commonwealth Supported Places be funded to a higher level than undergraduate Commonwealth Supported Places to reflect the true cost for operation.

Attachment: CAPA Submission

In 2009, Australia had 813,896 domestic higher education students enrolled in higher education institutions, 197,619 (24 per cent) of whom were domestic postgraduate students. If international students are included, postgraduates make up 27 per cent of the total higher education student population, and although international students only make up 28.3 per cent of the total student population, they are 36 per cent of the postgraduate student population.

As the Consultation Paper for the Higher Education Base Funding Review highlighted, Australia is not performing very well in achieving equity and access amongst disadvantaged segments of the population, with low SES, regional and remote, and indigenous students all significantly under-represented (Australian Government 2010).

As Australia approaches 2012, the first year of uncapped undergraduate numbers, it is essential that the Government follow through immediately on the remainder of funding recommended in the Bradley Review to ‘increase the base funding for teaching and learning in higher education by 10 per cent from 2010’ (2008).

Refer to the link to read CAPA’s full Base Funding Review submission