MEDIA RELEASE: CAPA calls for Government higher education decisions to be about policy, not cuts
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is concerned that higher education policy in Australia is being dictated by the Government’s short-sighted funding cuts, rather than being based on any reasoning about the nation’s current and future needs.
A report published today by the Mitchell Institute forecasts future enrolments in vocational training and undergraduate study. Their report stunningly illustrates the impact of Government funding decisions as flatlining or falling participation rates as a proportion of population.
Over the last six months, we have seen the Government hack away at our enviable higher education system. Before Christmas, universities were subjected to a funding freeze, meaning that universities had to turn away Australians who would otherwise have been accepted into a degree. More recently, the Government has proposed retroactive changes to student loans, which would see lower-earning graduates forced to pay back their student contributions sooner. Meanwhile we have seen no commitment to adequately supporting those who are already in the system. There is no relief in sight for the majority of domestic postgraduate students who are paying extortionate course fees and are ineligible for Austudy entitlements.
Today’s Mitchell Institute report provides a graphic reminder that the Government’s education policy decisions do not consider Australia’s future economic needs. Rather, it is a question of trying to save money in the short-term, at a cost of crippling the system and eliminating equitable access to higher education.
CAPA is furthermore concerned about the upcoming federal budget being utilised to reaffirm the Government’s desire to squeeze money out of young and lower-earning graduates. We call on the Government to premise their higher education decisions on the population’s needs instead of seeing students and universities as an easy target.
For further comment:
CAPA National President
P: 0430 076 993