The National Alliance for Public Universities (NAPU) has been formed in response to an unprecedented attack being made on public universities by the Abbott Government. We seek to give voice to the researchers, teachers, administrators and other staff who oppose the deregulation of fees and whose perspective has been overlooked in the national debate.
We have set out A Charter for Australia’s Public Universities, which articulates an alternative vision of the role and purpose of public universities.
Click here to find out more, and to add your signature.
The amendment to the Higher Education Support Act (2003) is currently before the Senate (introduced on 28 August 2014) reads as follows: ‘ To:
- provide demand-driven funding to diploma, advanced diploma and associate degree courses and extend government subsidies to bachelor and sub-bachelor courses at private universities and non-university higher education providers; remove the maximum student contribution amounts;
- remove the maximum student contribution amounts that providers can charge students in Commonwealth supported places; merge the FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP loan schemes, including the removal of the FEE-HELP loan fee and lifetime limits, HECS-HELP upfront discount and HELP voluntary repayment bonus;
- establish a Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme to support disadvantaged students; replace the CPI indexation of HELP loans with the 10 year government bond rate;
- lower the minimum repayment threshold for HELP debts;
- enable providers to charge Research Training Scheme students capped tuition fees;
- remove the lifetime limits on VET FEE-HELP loans and the VET FEE-HELP loan fee;
- replace the Higher Education Grants Index with the CPI'(Read the full amendment here)
These changes, which amount to a US-style deregulation of the University and Higher Education sector, are supported by managements at the Group of Eight universities, despite an overwhelming rejection of the proposed deregulation by staff, students and alumni. After the announcement of deregulation as a policy in the controversial 2014 budget (which cost Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey their jobs) many non-G8 university managements remained silent, when then Minister Christopher Pyne threatened their research funding if the legislation didn’t go through. Later, many colluded with the Government, hoping for the increase in government funding that would follow if deregulation policy passed both houses of Parliament.
NAPU aims to counter all calls for deregulation, and to provide an alternate voice in the debate around university funding.