Release type: Media Release

Date:

Band 2 student contribution reinstated for maths and science

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Government will reinstate Band 2 contribution amounts for university students who enrol in mathematics, statistics and science units from 1 January 2013, providing budget savings of $403.6 million over three years.  

The estimated maximum HECS contribution for students enrolled in these units will be $8,353 in 2013. The estimated National Priority rate is $4,691 in 2013.

Students who commence their course between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2012 will not be affected by this change and will continue to pay a reduced student contribution amount until 31 December 2015.

“The reduction in student contributions for mathematics, statistics and science units since 2009 has not been effective in substantially increasing the number of students undertaking maths and science at university,” said Senator Chris Evans.

“Students are predominantly motivated not by price but by their interests, abilities and career preferences when selecting courses.

“The savings realised by this decision will help to support the additional investment the Government has made in the new demand driven funding system for Australian universities to ensure more Australian students have the opportunity to go to university.”

The 2009 Bradley Review of Higher Education found that there was no evidence that lower student contributions had a positive impact on student demand.

This decision announced today is consistent with the removal of teaching and nursing units of study from the National Priority rate in 2010. Following this decision, demand for education actually increased by 8 per cent and demand for nursing increased by 20 per cent.

In recognition that the study of mathematics, statistics and science at all levels is important for success in the knowledge economy, the Government has asked the Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC, to work with the science community and relevant Ministers to develop new means for further lifting student participation rates in maths and science.

The Government has a substantial record of investment in science education, which includes developing an Australian Curriculum from Foundation to Year 10 in science and funding the construction of 280 science laboratories and 78 dual facility (science and language) laboratories in schools through the Building the Education Revolution program.

The Government continues to provide incentives for students to study mathematics, statistics and science courses and work in a related field through the HECS-HELP benefit for maths and science graduates:  

  • People who graduate from a natural and physical sciences course with a HECS-HELP debt and work in a relevant field of study can have their compulsory repayments reduced by more than $1,600.
  • Eligible graduates who work as a maths or science teacher may qualify for both the HECS-HELP benefit for maths and science graduates and the HECS-HELP benefit for teachers and can have their compulsory repayments reduced by more than $3,200.

There will be no impact on university revenues as a result of this measure.