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COPHE Endorses Kemp/Norton Report into Review of the Demand Driven Funding System

Media Release 13 April, 2014

The Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE) has welcomed Dr David Kemp and Mr Andrew Norton’s insightful review of the demand-driven funding system which gives the Government an opportunity to revitalise Australia’s higher education system.

 COPHE CEO Adrian McComb said the 17 recommendations in this report would boost the entire higher education sector. “If accepted, these moves would make the whole sector more innovative, fair, competitive and able to respond to the needs of students,” Mr McComb said.  

The Final Report of the Review of the Demand Driven Funding System, commissioned by Minister Pyne in November 2013 and released today, outlines a carefully considered approach to supporting Australian students that will extend choice and drive better outcomes as well as improving equity. “What is proposed by David Kemp and Andrew Norton follows a consistent focus on what is best for students and broadening opportunities in higher education,” Mr McComb said.

 Moves for Equity, Choice and Diversity

“COPHE stands for increased equity, choice and diversity in higher education and this review addresses all three goals,”

Mr McComb said. 

In its submission to the Review, COPHE proposed a single coherent loan scheme. The report recommends that all higher education providers should be able to offer Commonwealth supported places provided they do this on the same basis as public universities. This would enable institutions to “opt in” to providing courses within the same fee structure as universities and thus extend opportunities for students. Many private providers, especially those with all or mostly post-graduate students will probably determine to continue without Commonwealth support with their students accessing a coherent and equitable loan scheme.

 “Now that both private and public institutions have the one national regulator to assure quality across the sector, it is equitable for the same policies for support of students to be applied,” Mr McComb said, noting that “the Bradley Review had recommended extension of Commonwealth support however the previous government had accepted it but not acted”.

 Good News for All Students

COPHE had assembled data showing that students with poorer school results had much better outcomes by the second year of a bachelor degree when entering higher education through pathways courses such as diplomas. “The recommendation that sub-bachelor courses be included in the demand driven system is a key step in providing more opportunities and also better results for these students,” Mr McComb said “and private providers can make an even stronger contribution in this area”.

 Extending access to OS HELP to higher education students gaining their degrees outside universities would remove the current limitations and empower a much wider range of students to gain a global perspective.

 The Report’s proposals on support for post graduate courses would drive consistency across the sector and improve opportunities.

Opens the Door to Teaching-intensive Providers 

At present, Commonwealth support has mostly only applied to student enrolling in a particular model of higher education –public research-intensive universities, which are very large institutions in Australia. A wider diversity of provider, often smaller teaching-intensive institutions with a focus on particular disciplines and smaller classes, will further extend opportunities for students that better meets their needs and those of employers. “The measures in this review would stimulate the diversity of institutions, evident in other countries, so Australian students could also have access to a more competitive range of higher education options,” Mr McComb said.

 David Kemp and Andrew Norton are to be congratulated on this work and we commend the Review to Minister Pyne.

 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 60 campuses around Australia and are diverse in size, funding base, organisational links and educational focus.

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