Download: CAPA & NATSIPA Joint Report: Supporting Regional Universities
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations represents student organisations, including those based at regional universities; as such, regional advocacy falls within the scope of our representation. In November 2022, the Minister of Education, Jason Clare, declared addressing regional education as one of the priorities of the University Accords,
calling for ‘big ideas’. Unfortunately, most lobbying efforts from the sector overwhelmingly address city-centric issues, many of which do not consider the unique circumstances of regional universities. Consequently, the most common feedback from our regional members is the disconnect between higher education policy and regional universities, often translated to the deterioration of education quality and student experience.
Unlike their city-based counterparts, regional universities are responsible for providing local knowledge and expertise through research and professional training for their local communities. Thus, courses and research disciplines offered at these regional institutes reflect the demands of the local populous and are less suited for adapting to national priorities and changing market trends. Other artifacts of this unique circumstance include smaller class sizes, higher overhead costs for delivering education and a limited range of course offerings.
Throughout this report, we will frequently highlight nuances of regional universities and where the current higher education policy needs to be more effective in recognising the nuances of these institutions so they can better contribute to their local communities and society.
The early sections of this report will highlight mechanisms in the current higher education system that still need to address the nuance of regional universities, resulting in inequitable funding. We will cover aspects of university funding through domestic enrolments, research funding (competitive, national priorities and block funding) and overall support needed for students studying at regional universities. In later sections, we will cover the spillover consequences of these policies and Student Services Amenities Fees.