August 10, 2017

A Dodgy Chart Does Not a Good Case Make

The Report of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee into the Government’s higher education package sheds little new light but it does include a notably dodgy chart that undermines, not supports, the Minister’s rhetoric about higher education funding growing faster than Australia’s gross domestic product.
Total higher education funding is increasing. If we want it to match the OECD average it has to grow faster than GDP.
Let’s remember:

  1. across 2010 to 2015 IRU members annual surpluses dropped from 13% to 5% as the universities invested in having the facilities students and researchers will need in 2021;
  2. that 61% of the Government’s stated increase in higher education expenditure through to 2021 is to meet FEE-HELP.  The increase has little bearing on support for undergraduate student places, the focus of the HESLA package;
  3. the apparent increase average funding per Commonwealth funded student from 2010 is due to a mix of
  • students enrolling in higher cost subjects to support our future STEM and health services needs; and
  • the unknown factor chosen to adjust past year data into 2017 dollar values. Every figure in the Minster’s data is either adjusted or estimated.

Taken together it is clear, IRU members should not:

  • lose $43 million a year by 2021 through the cut to CGS funding;
  • have at risk $79 million a year by 2021 through the performance proposal; and
  • have at risk $74 million a year from loss of New Zealander and Permanent Resident students.

The IRU remains strong that the House of Representatives and the Senate should both reject the Government’s legislation.
For charts and graphs please download the pdf available on this page.