More Australians than ever are benefitting from the opportunity to participate in higher education, with 577,700 Commonwealth Supported places expected to be funded in 2013.
75 per cent increase in funding for university places
Commonwealth funding for university places has increased by 75 per cent between 2007 and 2013, from $3.5 billion to $6.1 billion.
Around an additional 149,000 places are available in 2013 compared to 2007 levels — that is a 35 per cent increase.
The Government is expanding this investment by providing an additional $97 million from 2014 to 2017 for additional Commonwealth supported places for sub-bachelor and postgraduate courses.
Funding has and will continue to benefit from significant growth.
$51 billion university funding over five years
Investment in higher education funding is expected to be a total of $51 billion over five years from 2012‑13. Given the substantial growth in funding, the Government will introduce a 2 per cent and 1.25 per cent efficiency dividend only in 2014 and 2015 respectively. This will provide savings of $903 million over four years and help fund the National Plan for School Improvement.
Even taking this modest saving into account, funding to universities is still growing in real terms over time.
65 per cent increase in student assistance
More students attending university are able to access student income support. Reforms to Youth Allowance payment rates and eligibility criteria mean expenditure on tertiary student assistance grew by 65 per cent between 2007‑08 and 2012‑13.
From 1 January 2014, the Government will offer Student Start-up Scholarships as income contingent loans to new full time higher education students, providing $1.2 billion of savings. The Government has ensured that students continue to have access to the same level of financial assistance while studying and will only repay any loans once their HELP debt is repaid.