“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’.