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Featured News Response to university policy changes

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Tue, 2 May 2017

Response to university policy changes

James Cook University is dismayed by the Federal Government’s proposal to impose a funding cut on Australia’s universities.

The government last night announced universities would be subject to a 2.5% efficiency dividend in 2018 and 2019, as part of a range of policy changes for the higher education sector.

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said there is no justification for the funding cut.

“Universities and students have already contributed about $3.9 billion in budget savings since 2011 due to Commonwealth policy changes.”

“Education is Australia’s third largest export industry and proposals that reduce funding to universities raise questions internationally about what this means for the quality of Australian university education.

It’s disappointing the Federal Government is not recognising the importance of innovation, education and research to Australia’s future in the same way the government is recognising the importance of business by providing tax cuts to that sector.”

Prof. Harding said it’s regrettable the changes will lead to a greater financial burden on students.

“But even with the proposed changes, a university education remains a very sound investment. There are enormous benefits from attaining a university education, including a substantial boost to earnings over the course of a career.”

Prof. Harding said the package of measures does include some good news for regional universities, including a recognition that universities in regional areas have different challenges.

She said JCU is very pleased the Federal Government has decided that uncapped financial support will be extended to sub-bachelor level diploma, advanced diploma and associate degree courses.

“This is very important for many people living in regional areas who are considering a university education. It means students can apply for university, attain a diploma and then move on to a bachelor’s degree, which can have a transformative impact on their life.”