Forty-seven higher education universities and colleges across Australia have had their third set of budget cuts under the federal government’s efficiency divided, totalling $3.5 billion.
A list has recently been released by the federal Department of Education, which details the University of Queensland has been hit hardest with a $51.2 million reduction in its funding over a four year period, with the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne following not far behind as detailed below:
- The University of Queensland: 44,338 students – $51.2m cut
- The University of Sydney: 49,497 students – $50.4m cut
- The University of Melbourne: 47,144 students – $46.6m cut
- Monash University: 58,735 students – $46.0m cut
- University of New South Wales: 47,249 students – $43.0m cut
- Australian National University: 18,295 students – $37.3m cut
The cuts are driving the sector to consider staff and course cuts, but their biggest concern is how they are going to maintain education standards, vice-chancellors say “the cuts are irrational and likely to corrode confidence in the sector’s ability to guarantee quality student experiences”. In the current demand-driven system universities are unable to increase their fees to offset budget cuts. Despite this, there is opportunity for the Abbott government to evaluate this in light of the review of the demand-driven system by the Hon Dr David Kemp and economist Mr Andrew Norton. For which the ever important results are due for release to government this month. What do you think the biggest impact of the efficiency dividend cuts will be?