Universities have welcomed the Government’s decision to put an extra $326 million in the Budget for new university places, the equivalent of 12,000 new students in 2021.
The decision recognises a surge in applications to study as the pandemic hits the job market and drives up unemployment.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the additional money in the October Budget will help universities open their doors to thousands of extra students next year.
“2021 is shaping as the weakest job market in living memory,” Ms Jackson said.
“More young people than usual are opting for vocational or higher education. Universities will be better placed to support them now.”
The University Admissions Centre, which processes applications for admission to tertiary courses in NSW and ACT, has received an increase of more than 20 per cent in applications from year 12 students wanting to attend university in 2021 than at the same time a year ago.
Today the Education Minister confirmed the Government plans to announce measures to support university research in the Budget.
“This is an important piece of the funding puzzle to help universities weather the storm of uncertainty caused by COVID-19.”
“We have argued that immediate relief is needed to retain capacity and jobs in the short term.”
“Once that is done, urgent attention will be needed to address the medium and long-term issues facing Australia’s universities if they are to meet the challenges of the future.”
“Australian researchers produced vaccines for cervical cancer and influenza, soft contact lenses, shatter-proof car wing mirrors, the bionic ear and hundreds of other innovations.”
Universities are pleased that changes were made to protect core funds for student places and transition funds before the Bill entered Parliament.
Ms Jackson said: “We will continue to argue for legislative protection for indexation and growth as important elements for certainty.”