Go8 wants fees on high return courses uncapped

Australia’s top universities have asked to be freed from price capping for courses with the highest graduate-earning premium

January 30, 2014

The Group of Eight made the request in its submission to the Australian government’s review of its demand-driven undergraduate funding system, which is due to report next month.

The Go8 hails the uncapping of funded places as “an important step on the way to a more responsive, more market-driven and less regulated higher education system”. But it adds that deregulation has not gone far enough and proposes that universities be allowed to charge whatever tuition fees they like in exchange for no longer claiming public subsidy for those courses. Such a mechanism was proposed in the 2008 Bradley Review, which also made the original proposal to uncap student places.

The Go8’s proposed scheme would initially be limited to law, accountancy, administration, economics and commerce, but could later be extended to “other fields of high private return”.

Australian undergraduate fees are currently set by the government at variable rates according to complex criteria involving the earnings premium associated with each course and its national importance.

Adopting the Go8’s proposals could drive up domestic fees at top-ranked institutions by 30 to 40 per cent, to A$15,250 (£8,200) a year.

However, as the fees would be met by Australia’s income-contingent loan scheme, the scheme would still be “equitable”, the Go8 says.

Acknowledging widespread concerns that quality has suffered in the demand-driven system, the Go8 called for more transparency about admissions criteria. “Rapid increases in enrolments…have given rise to growth in the entry of students whose levels of school attainment were previously regarded as indicative of inability to benefit immediately from a bachelor degree program,” it notes.

The Go8 also wants to see more funding redirected to cheaper sub-degree programmes at “non-university suppliers” and more research cash allocated by competition.


Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

Cricket player and umpire exchanging bribe

The need to accommodate foreign students undermines domestic practices, says Lincoln Allison, spying parallels between UK universities and global sports bodies such as Fifa