24 May 2012

Benefits for research, science and engineering

10:51 pm on 24 May 2012

Engineering courses and research are the biggest beneficiaries from the Government's tertiary education Budget.

They get almost all of the $70 million a year the Budget cuts from spending on student loans and allowances.

Subsidies for engineering enrolments will rise 8.8% and subsidies for science enrolments by 2% - increases that will cost the Government about $16 million a year.

The Budget also commits $100 million over four years to the Performance Based Research Fund. That will increase the value of the fund for research in tertiary institutions from $250 million a year to $300 million by 2016.

Subsidies for enrolments in subjects outside the sciences and engineering get no increase.

But subsidies to private tertiary education providers will increase 3%. The Government says this will cost $29.5 million over the next four years.

The change will narrow the gap with public tertiary institutions, which have historically received slightly higher subsidies than private institutions.

The Budget increases spending on the Youth Guarantee - which provides fee-free places in tertiary courses for teenagers - by $37.7 million over four years.

The money will increase the number of places from 7500 this year to 8750 in 2013.

Savings in tertiary education spending include previously announced increases in student loan repayment rates and changes to student allowance entitlement.

The repayment rate on student loans will increase from 10 cents in the dollar to 12 cents and the bonus for voluntary repayments is removed.

Student allowances are removed for post-graduate study the parental threshold for accessing allowances is frozen for the next four years.

The Government says the changes will save $240 million in the first year and up to $70 million a year thereafter.

The Budget cuts all funding for adult and community education in universities, saving $5.4 million over four years.

It also saves $22.4 million over four years by ending funding used to help tertiary education providers include literacy and numeracy teaching in low-level tertiary education courses. The Government says the funding was short-term.