Release type: Joint Media Release


Job-ready graduates to power economic recovery


The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education
Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

University students who study in areas of expected employment growth will pay less for their degree as the Government incentivises students to make more job-relevant decisions about their education.

The Coalition Government will provide an additional 39,000 university places by 2023 to meet the expected increase in demand because of COVID-19.

The Government will also reform our higher education sector so that the student contribution and the Commonwealth contribution equals the cost of teaching that degree.

The Government will incentivise students to make more job-relevant choices, that lead to more job-ready graduates, by reducing the student contribution in areas of expected employment growth and demand.

Students will pay:

  • 46 per cent less to study teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, English and languages
  • 62 per cent less to study agriculture and maths, and
  • 20 per cent less to study health, architecture, environmental science, IT, and engineering.

The Government will also provide $900 million for a National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund to incentivise universities to produce job-ready graduates that local industries and employers need.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced the reforms as part of the Coalition Government’s new package that will deliver:

  • greater capacity for universities to respond to increased demand
  • a focus on better preparing students for jobs that reflect Australia’s expected economic, industry and employment growth
  • a stronger link between universities and industry
  • flexibility for universities to manage their funding, and
  • more transparent and accountable funding arrangements for universities.

“To power our post-COVID economic recovery, Australia will need more educators, more health professionals and more engineers, and that is why we are sending a price signal to encourage people to study in areas of expected employment growth,” Mr Tehan said.

“We are facing the biggest employment challenge Australia has faced since the Great Depression and the biggest impact will be felt by young Australians.

“They are relying on us to give them the opportunity to succeed in the jobs of the future.

“Universities need a greater focus on domestic students and greater alignment with industry needs.”

The package will restructure higher education funding to better align the cost and revenue of a university degree, with around 60 per cent of students seeing a reduction or no change in their student contribution.

Course fees for current students will be grandfathered, with the new funding model applied to students who commence their studies from 2021.

Students will continue to have access to the world’s most generous income contingent loan scheme, the Higher Education Loan Program.

Mr Tehan said additional Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding would be provided from 2021 to support growth in Commonwealth supported places at regional campuses and high growth metropolitan campuses.

“This is a critical element of the Government’s response to the Napthine Review of regional education,” Mr Tehan said.

“Australia’s universities and higher education providers will play a key role as we look to the future and work to recover from the significant national and international impacts of the coronavirus.”

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaela Cash said the new package would complement the Government’s reforms in vocational education and training.

“We are working to deliver reforms that will give Australians the power to mix and match their qualifications across VET and higher education to suit their needs,” Senator Cash said.