Download: Pre-budget submission
In our submission to consultation on the Government’s upcoming 2020/21 Budget, we have provided advice on budget measures that would improve the wellbeing of coursework and research postgraduate students. Several of our suggestions require minimal expenditure or are budget neutral, and our proposal to implement a tuition fee cap for postgraduate coursework degrees is an opportunity for the Government to substantially reduce their lending through the Higher Education Loan Program. Specifically, we make the following recommendations:
Recommendation one: That income support be expanded to domestic students of all postgraduate coursework degrees, subject to means testing of the student.
Recommendation two: That all domestic Higher Degree by Research students be paid a stipend for the duration of their research degree.
Recommendation three: That the Government amends the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines to establish paid family violence leave, and provides an additional $491,000 to universities to fund a family violence leave scheme for recipients of Research Training Program stipends.
Recommendation four: That the Government implements a maximum costs for tuition fees of postgraduate coursework degrees for domestic students, such that the maximum is comparable with current costs of student contributions towards undergraduate degrees.
Recommendation five: That the Government provides ongoing adequate funding for university teaching and research.
Recommendation six: That the Commonwealth Government implements legislation requiring at least 50% of Student Services and Amenities Fees be received by independent student associations.
Recommendation seven: That the Australian Government adopts the Australian Productivity Commission’s draft recommendation to “undertake trials allowing up to 20 sessions of individual or group therapy in total over a year for consumers whose clinical condition requires more than the current 10 sessions” within the next two years.
Recommendation eight: That the Australian Government amend the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 to require higher education providers to have an effective mental health and wellbeing strategy.
Recommendation nine: That the Australian Government create a $5 million fund to assist higher education providers to develop these strategies and new programs to improve mental health on their campuses.