As part of negotiations with Centre Alliance, the government has committed to providing additional commonwealth supported places for South Australian universities that will see South Australia receive the same growth rate as Tasmania and regional Australia.
“This means substantial extra funding for our three universities over four years, over above current funding allocations, and an additional 12,000 students will have access to a university education over a four-year period,” said senator Stirling Griff, Centre Alliance senator for South Australia.
“This is an excellent outcome for South Australia and will address the concerns expressed by the vice-chancellors of Flinders University, UniSA and the University of Adelaide who all pointed out that the original government proposal favoured universities in regional areas and those in cities experiencing high growth.
“With a high unemployment rate, a smaller population than other states and no regional universities, using a CPI calculation for new places was just not going to work for South Australia.”
In addition, Centre Alliance worked with the government on the weighting of commonwealth supported places in order to recognise the number of regional, low socioeconomic status, first-in-family and Indigenous students currently enrolled with each South Australian university, as well as defining the criteria for ‘special circumstances’ within the legislation for students who do not successfully complete their study units.
Centre Alliance has also negotiated funding for four study hubs across regional South Australia to provide extra support to regional students.
“We also advocated for the reinstatement of a 10% discount for upfront FEE-Help student contributions, the confirmation of a professional pathway for psychology and social work and a formal independent review of these legislative reforms after 18 months,” Rebekha said.
Rebekha said the reforms would encourage universities to strengthen industry relationships and produce “job-ready graduates”.
“Another positive outcome of these reforms will hopefully be a strengthened focus on domestic students, particularly domestic students from the regions who have under-represented in our universities,” Rebekha said.
“Many Australian universities are on their knees suffering devastating financial losses due to the loss of international students thanks to Covid-19.
“With South Australian universities close to, or over, their cap of domestic students with some having been cross-subsidised by international students, we need to rethink the way in which we approach the domestic student market.”