Proposed changes to Australia's Higher Education Contribution Scheme could be blocked if opposition parties decide to use their majority in the senate. The Labor Party, the Australian Democrats and the Greens could vote together to block government plans to raise an additional Aus $1.13 billion over the next four years by increasing the cost of student contributions.
But universities would then face further cuts if the government sought to make up the lost cash from elsewhere. The senate is also likely to reject allowing universities to charge full fees for students who miss a government-funded place.
Education minister Senator Amanda Vanstone said this week that she was disappointed vice chancellors had not seized the chance to use fees to help meet a 15 per cent wage rise claim for university staff.