June 23, 2017

Possible key elements of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP): IRU response


The IRU supports the Government’s proposed changes to the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).
The changes, if implemented, will give long term certainty through a standard payment per low SES student and remove reporting that hampers creativity in best use of the funds in favour of targeted reporting of major outcomes.
The Government’s proposals respond to the IRU argument Improving equity in higher education participation that the Government should honour the Bradley review intent to provide a loading per low SES student as an incentive to redress the imbalance in who attends university, creating the incentive for universities to improve the balance of students without unnecessary input controls.
IRU and increased Low SES enrolments
So far, through the combination of demand driven funding and the additional support through HEPPP IRU members have led a significant increase in low SES enrolments. See Impact of more students at university – Part 2.
Since 2012, the proportion of low SES students has been higher than any point earlier in the century, reaching 17.7% in 2015. Of the extra 149,024 undergraduate students between 2010 and 2015, 33,832 (23%) are low SES, almost at the point the parity. If current growth continues low SES enrolment could reach 20% by 2020 – still short of the benchmark of 25% but a notable change.
IRU members have been crucial to the growth in low SES student numbers. Consistent with our commitment to inclusive education, IRU members focus on encouraging students from all backgrounds with well-designed programs to attract and support them.
Between 2010 and 2015 IRU members enrolled an additional 15,412 Australian undergraduate students 5,759 (37%) of whom are low SES. This has raised the proportion of low SES students in IRU members from 18% to 21%. Members of the Regional University Network and other universities located outside the inner cities have also had strong growth in the number and proportion of low SES students.

Read full submission attached.