24 May 2012

Funding for new education initiatives

10:45 pm on 24 May 2012

Education will get an increase of about $511 million over the next four years to fund new initiatives in Budget announcements on Thursday.

These initiatives were announced before the 2012 Budget and include $59.8 million over four years for teacher recruitment and training and about $82.6 million over four years to increase schools' operations grants.

Changes will also be made to teacher-student ratios for Year 2 to Year 10. That ratio will be set at one teacher to 27.5 students. This change is expected to save an average of about $43 million each year over the next four years.

The total spend on education in 2012/13 is $9.6 billion.

The $4.3 billion spend on Tertiary Education has been rebalanced with more emphasis on investment in tuition and research and less spending on student support.

Some $158.9 million over four years will be invested in engineering, science and research-led learning.

This is made up of an additional $43 million for engineering studies (8.8% increase per equivalent fulltime student), an additional $17 million for science (2% increase per equivalent fulltime student), and a $50 million increase to the size of the Performance-Based Research Fund.

The Government will stop funding Adult and Community Education in universities. Some of these programmes will instead be funded through community providers.

In measures announced before the Budget, the student loan repayment rate will increase from 10 cents in the dollar to 12 cents, the voluntary student loan repayment bonus will be removed and post-graduate students will not be eligible for student allowances.

The parental income threshold for student allowances will be frozen at its current rate until 31 March 2016. These changes will take effect from 1 April next year.