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Budget Improves Equity and Choice in Higher Education

Media Release 15 May 2014

The Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE) has welcomed the Federal Government’s moves to make higher education more equitable, increasing opportunities and choice for all students through policy changes revealed in the 2014-2015 Budget.

 COPHE CEO Adrian McComb said: “An Australian Government has finally recognised students as smart consumers. With commonwealth support freed to follow student choice beyond the nearest public university, this Government is making it possible for more students to choose an institution which best meets their varying needs.”

 “This is a red letter day for higher education. The reforms announced in the Budget deliver three things for students – equity, choice and diversity. COPHE has been advocating for these changes for their members’ students for over a decade,” Mr McComb said.

 Currently one in ten Australian students choose private higher education institutions, because most offer smaller classes, effective links with employers, flexible learning, top quality student experiences and some operate from a different worldview to that of public universities. They have made this choice despite Commonwealth policy that has, until this Budget, discriminated against students choosing private providers.

 "A single coherent income contingent loan scheme that students can access wherever they choose to study, together with the uncapping of university fees, will drive better outcomes for students all round," Mr McComb said.

 “Some “sticker shock” amongst students from the cost increases at public universities is understandable, however those same students are going to experience better outcomes for their long term investment in their education as institutions move beyond a “one size fits all” approach to something that delivers real value for them.” 

 At present, the tuition cost at all public universities is essentially the same. Flexibility will give students the ability to decide for themselves what represents best value. Enhanced quality of teaching and better student outcomes are the key distinctives needed for our higher education system, something that private providers already understand.

 Another clever higher education initiative in the budget is the provision of 80,000 CGS funded places for sub-degrees eg. diplomas. There is strong research evidence students with poorer school results who would struggle in their first year of a bachelor degree, can still achieve progression on par with students with much higher ATARS if they have access to such diplomas as pathways into the second year of bachelor degrees.

 “Minister Pyne is to be congratulated for policy that will reform higher education and deliver equity, choice and diversity for all students.”

 Media inquiries: Adrian McComb (02) 8021 0841 or 0417208727 | Email:

The Council of Private Higher Education Inc. (COPHE) is a peak body established in 2001 to represent Australian private higher education institutions. It promotes good policy in the sector, calling for equity, choice and diversity for all degree-level students. COPHE members operate from more than 70 campuses around Australia and are diverse in size, funding base, organisational links and educational focus.


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