Required reading: what does the Australian election result mean for students?

The results of the Australian election may have been unexpected but now the dust has settled, what will the winning party do for universities and students? 

May 21 2019
Australia, election, democracy, voting, higher education, coalition

In a shock result, the Liberal-National Coalition has triumphed in the 2019 Australian elections. Early polls were predicting that the Labour party would pip the Coalition government to the post, but more voters ticked the Liberal-National box instead.

So what does this mean for students? What exactly have the Coalition government pledged to do for higher education over their tenure? Well not a lot actually.

They have pledged a few different funding pots to boost certain aspects of the higher education sector. 

For example, if you are an international student looking to study in Australia you may want to take advantage of the $94 million that has been set aside to encourage foreign students to study in rural universities.

Known as the Destination Australia scholarships, the aim is to entice students to attend regional universities and colleges. Regional universities will also benefit from an additional $134 million to fund places, study hubs and scholarships in a bid to become more attractive to students. 

However, this pledge has met with some backlash, as it is understood that these regional funds have been set up at the expense of teaching grants.

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The Coalition government has also stated that they will provide limited funding for undergraduate spaces at universities, starting at approximately $70 million. But it has been understood that this amount of money will barely cover inflation.

This means the end of uncapped university places (something that doesn’t look likely to be reviewed any time soon) and unfortunately for students looking to apply to go to university in Australia in the future, this might mean increased competition for places.

This may not be apparent for those students applying to Australian universities in the next couple of years, but from 2022, it is thought that there will be an increase in the youth population in Australia, therefore more students will be applying to university. 

For those school students in Australia looking for alternative routes, $525 million has been set aside towards 80,000 apprenticeships and boosting vocational education and training.

A new education minister has yet to be announced but hopefully on their agenda will be a closer focus on higher education and the issues that affect students.

Some of the policies that the Liberal-National Coalition has already done for higher education while in office were to change the threshold for paying back student loans to $45,000.

Required Reading is the regular blog from Times Higher Education student editor Seeta Bhardwa.

Read more: Best universities in Australia

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