Regional universities support McGowan
THE Regional Universities Network (RUN) supports the amendments to the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (HESLA) Bill to assist regional higher education providers and students, as proposed by Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi).
However, RUN opposes the overall passage of the Bill, as does Ms McGowan.
RUN strongly supports the proposal for a national, regional, higher education strategy.
Such a strategy is consistent with the government’s consideration of issues relating to regional education participation in the Independent Review of Regional, Remote and Rural Education.
The strategy would include measures to increase the representation of regional students in higher education, support transitions, and recognise the role of higher education providers in regional development. A review of regional loading is also proposed. Another amendment provides financial incentives for students to study in the regions.
Those who study in regional Australia are much more likely to work in the regions.
The amendment will give students studying at a regional campus a longer Higher Education Loan Program repayment free period on relevant units.
Students would not have to start repayments until they reach the 3.5 per cent threshold under the amendment ($56,205 - $59,576).
This would provide relief for students in low income households.
Advice provided by the Parliamentary Budget Office to Ms McGowan indicates that the cost of this measure will only be $21.6 million over the forward estimates to 2020-21.
We congratulate Ms McGowan on proposing these amendments.
However, we oppose the overall passage of the Bill.
The efficiency dividend on university funding will have a disproportionately greater effect on regional universities, and what we can provide to our students and communities.
We rely on the government for around 40 per cent of our funding, compared to less than about 20 per cent for the older, metropolitan group of eight universities.”
Professor Greg Hill, chair of RUN WE welcome your letters to the Editor. Priority is given to typed/emailed letters under 250 words. Every letter must have your full name, address and a daytime phone contact number supplied for verification purposes. Any letter may be edited for reasons of space, content or legibility. Letters are published with the author’s name and town/locality.
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