Policy Submissions

Response to National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy Framing Paper

1 Feb 19

Download – Response to National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy Framing Paper

In this submission, we aim to assist the working group by providing recommendations on addressing Challenges B and D that were presented in the framing document for this inquiry. We propose that the financial burdens facing relocating students can be significantly reduced by extending and increasing the value of student income support. We also suggest that increased university investment in on-campus counselling services and student organisations can help RRR students to adjust to university life and provide more formal and informal support towards their wellbeing. Finally, we suggest that the competitive nature of research degree scholarships disadvantages RRR students who have often had less opportunities than their city-based peers to meet the competitive criteria required to be awarded a stipend. As a result, CAPA recommends the following:

  • That income support be extended to all full-time domestic postgraduate students, subject to means-testing;
  • That the rate of Austudy be urgently increased in order to help students afford housing;
  • That universities and affiliated colleges work to keep their rental rates below 50% of Austudy, and where this is not possible, provide a significant increase in the number of scholarships targeted at disadvantaged and RRR students;
  • That all universities provide at least 12 free sessions with a university-based counsellor each year, and invest in reducing wait-times of on-campus counselling services and in providing teleconference counselling options;
  • That the Commonwealth Government legislate that 50% of collect SSAF dues be allocated to student organisation to provide peer-based social support and communities for incoming students;
  • That State Governments which have not already done so extend student public transport concession rates to all students;
  • That the Commonwealth Government allocate RTP-equivalent stipends for disadvantaged students, at a level to compensate for the overall reduction in funding for RTP stipends.