Funding cuts will impact students and staff

The Federal Government’s funding cuts to higher education will impact on staff and student services, Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, has said.

“While the overall effect on Flinders University of the Federal Government’s decision to cut funding to the higher education sector requires more detailed analysis, there is no doubt that there will be an impact on staff and student services,” Professor Barber (pictured) said.

“The decision to require the repayment of scholarships could also discourage potential students from applying to attend university – an outcome that would run counter to the Government’s professed ambition to increase the numbers of people with university degrees,” he said.

“The funding cuts directly contradict the recommendation of the Federal Government’s own review by Ms Jane Lomax-Smith which found, in 2011, that the higher education sector is under-funded by international standards, and that increased funding was needed ‘to maximise the sector’s potential to contribute to national productivity and economic growth’.

“Flinders will be analysing the Government’s decision in coming days but it would be regrettable if we were forced to delay or reduce our commitment to Flinders’ $120 million expansion at Tonsley Park as this is a vital project for the economic transformation of the south and the generation of jobs for future South Australians.

“As Universities Australia has noted:

•    ‘These cuts come at a time when Australia already sits a disturbingly 25th out of 29 advanced economies for public investment in universities – as a percentage of GDP.

•    ‘Global competition has never been more fierce, our competitors are investing heavily in higher education because they recognise that funding higher education and research is a long term investment in their country’s future well-being,

•    ‘Universities Australia’s market research shows that 88 per cent of parents want their children to go to university, 93 per cent consider universities as important in providing the skills and knowledge for tomorrow, and 87 per cent support an increase in funding for universities’.

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5 thoughts on “Funding cuts will impact students and staff

  1. So, country students who are particularly dependent on the start up scholarship are essentially being penalised for not being born in the city. Awesome.

  2. A disappointing announcement for current and prospective students. I am concerned that this budget ‘cut’ will only contribute to perpetuating university status as only accessible to the privileged. While I do not fully understand how the federal budget operates, I do understand the implciations for student learning and the broader education community. It is fair to say that I will no longer be supporting our current government as a direct result of this decision.

  3. I wonder if Michael Barber will offer to cut his meager $720k annual salary and tiny $100-150k pay bumps every year instead of slashing the staff and student services that keep the university running…

  4. I could say all sorts of cynical things about governments that don’t want to encourage critical thinking. But I think it really boils down to the neoliberal climate and the idea that nothing is worth anything to the nation unless it brings in money. Education only has value as a saleable commodity and it is the individual’s responsibility to pay for it. Because all of us who value thinking are self-indulgent and would contribute more to the public good by making more money instead 🙁

  5. It is certainly disappointing but this is an opportunity to exploit Australia’s endowments that include high quality education, first class learning and world class faciltiies in education. In 2011 there were just under 600,000 International students studying in Australia, not all at university. Of those students 200,000 came from China. Flinders University needs to create an International recruitment role which entails a delegation to visit key countries and promote what Flinders University can ofer. The university would benefit from an MBA program that was offered solely online so that it could generate revenue from international students abroad and compete head on with UniSA who are doing very well with their program.

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