Greens spokesperson for education, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has said the release of new data today shows the harm the Liberal Government’s neglect and austerity has done to universities.
The selected Higher Education Statistics – 2018 Student data shows Commonwealth supported student places growing by only 0.5% in 2018 compared to an average of 2.1% across the three years prior.
- “In 2019, applicants from a low SES background recorded a larger decrease (-3.9 per cent) in applications than applicants from a medium SES and high SES backgrounds, -2.0 per cent and -1.0 per cent respectively.”
- “In 2019, offers to applicants from a low SES background decreased by 5.0 per cent followed by those from a medium SES background (-2.9 per cent) and high SES background (-0.3 per cent).”
- “There were 276,489 unique offers made in 2019, a decrease of 1.5 per cent on the previous year. This follows a decrease of 1.9 per cent in 2018.”
Senator Faruqi said:
“This data shows the terrible impact of the Liberal Governments’ punitive funding freeze, with Commonwealth supported student places growing by only 0.5% in 2018 compared to an average of 2.1% across the three years prior.
“Students have missed out on the opportunity to study because of the Liberals cuts to funding over the last few years. The measly funding increase the Liberals have now tied to misguided performance measures isn’t going to fix the problem.
“The Liberals’ cuts are hitting low SES students the hardest. While offers for admission reduced overall, offers to low SES students decreased by 16 times the decrease in offers to high SES students in 2019.
“The Government has to take responsibility for years of vicious cuts to education, including their short-sighted decision to abolish the Education Infrastructure Fund a fortnight ago.
“As with TAFE, Government austerity and neglect is undermining our public universities which are crucial to all of our futures.
“Instead of running higher education into the ground, the Government should get on board with the Greens’ plan to fund free undergraduate university and TAFE for all and boost university funding by 10 per cent. Our plan would improve learning and teaching conditions, reduce class sizes and enable researchers to pursue solutions to the big problems of our time,” she concluded.