Attaching postgraduate commonwealth support funding to students is a needed fix for the current patchwork system according to the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA).
Under the current system students are tied to certain institutions as funding for some courses is not extended sector wide. This measure is a way to ensure postgraduate students are provided with the same student choice that is available to undergraduate students. CAPA is also aware that a number of these postgraduate commonwealth supported places are not even fully utilized at some universities and we want to see this funding accessed by as many students as possible.
Both commonwealth support and income support for postgraduate coursework students is patchy at best. Students should not be tied to a university for fear of losing either form of support.
For three years CAPA has argued, in pre-budget submissions, that income support and commonwealth support needs to be extend to all postgraduate students in the same way that it is provided to undergraduate students.
The ultimate goals is to ensure commonwealth support and income support (through youth allowance and AuStudy) for all postgraduate coursework students. Until blanket coverage is achieved however, ensuring students won’t lose support if they change universities mid coarse is a step in the right direction.
“I understand that some universities are against this idea because they have built a curriculum around postgraduate courses being just short of a requirement,” said National President Peter Derbyshire. “The funding is there for students however, and no student should be forced to choose one institute over another just because funding for their course is only available at some universities.”
“To be clear our support for this measure does not mean we support the reform package. We will continue to fight this and any reform package that threatens universities, uses student fees to fix a government’s budget failings or violates fairness to students and graduates the way proposed changes to HELP does” said Mr Derbyshire.
For Comment: Peter Derbyshire CAPA National President
M:0435 047 817