Student preferences not fees should drive funding

Posted in Statements on 1 February 2024

The issue of university fees and funding has heated up with a number of university bodies calling for big changes in pre-budget submissions.

The Universities Accord panel wrote in its interim report that JRG needs to be ‘redesigned before it causes long term damage’, damage that was most obvious in the skyrocketing of fees paid by humanities and social sciences students.

DASSH has consistently argued the attempt to drive student choice through price signalling under the JRG package was flawed, ineffective and unfair.

Any changes must not be driven by a desire to influence student preferences or behaviour. The system must allow student preferences to drive study choices.

Changes to funding levels must be focused on student needs. This will become urgent if student numbers grow to meet the levels envisioned in the interim report. An expanded student body will come with much greater demands on student support. This will best be met with a needs-based approach to funding across the sector.

The Universities Accord final report has been handed to the Minister for Education Jason Clare. The sector awaits its imminent release to find out not only what the panel has recommended, but what will be implemented.

DASSH members, led by President Nick Bisley, want to see a fair model driven by student preferences and student need and where the full cost of university teaching, which includes the cost of undertaking basic research, is recognised.