The Australian Government today welcomed the passage of the Higher Education Support Amendment Bill (No. 2) by the Parliament.
Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said the Bill implements a number of commitments made by the Government in the 2011-12 Budget including:
- additional funding of $1.2 billion over four years to make more university places available for Australian students;
- an extra $550 million for improved indexation for university grants, to ensure that universities have the resources they need to deliver quality outcomes;
- $500 million for the Regional Priorities Round of the Education Investment Fund to create better educational facilities for regional students; and
- additional funding of $109.9 million over four years to help universities meet the higher costs of delivering education at their regional campuses.
The Budget also included a reduction in HECS-HELP upfront discounts, providing savings of $479 million to assist in paying for the Government’s increased investment in higher education.
Senator Evans released forward projections showing the impact of the Government’s decision to increase annual indexation of university grants, a measure which will deliver an additional $3.15 billion in university revenue over the period from 2011-2015.
Additional university revenue – improved indexation
“The Government expects that 2012 will be an even stronger year for universities as it is the first year that the Government’s improved indexation arrangements take full effect,” Senator Evans said.
“Next year, Commonwealth grants to universities will be indexed by 3.8 per cent, compared to the long-term average of less than two per cent.
“Next year will also see the restoration of funding for student amenities and services, delivering substantial additional revenue to universities in 2012.
“Universities also stand to gain considerably from new streamlined visa arrangements which will underpin sustainable growth in their international operations next year.
“The measures in the Bill will help the Government maintain its commitment to substantially lift its funding for Australian universities.
“Its passage will ensure more Australian students have the opportunity of higher education next year and in the years to come.”