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Reforming Higher Education Through Sustainable Contribution Funding

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EDUCATION MINISTER, JOHN DAWKINS

REFORMING HIGHER EDUCATION THROUGH SUSTAINABLE CONTRIBUTION FUNDING

PURPOSE
1. To recommend that you consider the Higher Education Contribution Scheme as a reform policy that allows more Australian’s to enter higher education, which will strengthen national competitiveness in the increasingly knowledge-based global economy.

BACKGROUND:

2. Between 1975 and 1987, the total students enrolled had increased by almost 50 percent. Graduates from the sector’s 65 universities had risen by 12,000 in eight years.
3. Despite the growth of the sector, Australia is not matching the performance of other OECD countries in delivering tertiary education. Both America and Canada had a larger percentage of people aged between 18-24 enrolling in higher education than Australia. Australia’s rate of proportion of the population qualified to first-degree level is only 60 percent of Japan, United States and Canada.
4. Australia’s universities are not meeting the high demand for places, seeing 20,000 people turned away from the higher education system in 1987.
5. Australia needs to be producing 125,000 university graduates a year by 2001. Commonwealth funding to the higher education system was around $2.5 billion in 1987. Additional funding requirements to support this rate were projected to be 30 to 40 percent above the amount allocated to higher education in the 1987 budget.
6. Walsh has introduced a $250 upfront payment on students, the Higher
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