Realising Our Potential — the HEEF

Realising Our Potential is a comprehensive package of reforms across the university, vocational education and training and school sectors. The centrepiece is an unprecedented investment in the university sector by establishing a perpetual $5 billion Higher Education Endowment Fund (HEEF) funded from the 2006‑07 surplus.

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A high quality and responsive education system is vital to increasing skills, which, in turn, boost workforce participation and productivity — the key components of the economy's productive capacity.

The centrepiece of Realising Our Potential is the establishment of a new, perpetual HEEF that will provide an additional guaranteed source of funding for Australia's universities forever.

The initial $5 billion in the HEEF will be invested to earn income which will be distributed on an annual basis to individual universities for capital works and research facilities. This will

supplement funds that universities have in their own endowment funds.

The Fund's investments will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians as a separate fund.

Distributions from the Fund's earnings will be made on a competitive basis to universities annually by the Minister for Education, Science and Training on advice from an expert advisory board.

The HEEF will be structured so that it can receive philanthropic donations from the private sector and, on request, manage individual institutions' endowments.

The Fund will encourage philanthropic support for universities from individuals and the corporate sector.

The Government's initial investment in the HEEF broadly doubles the financial investments and endowments accumulated by universities (that is, financial assets such as shares and bonds which universities use to supplement their funding).

It is intended that further capital contributions to the HEEF will be made from future budget surpluses to grow, over time, a Fund which will finance the building of first class institutions in the Australian higher education sector.

Graph: Realising Our Potential delivers $3.5 billion additional education expenditure

Realising Our Potential delivers $3.5 billion additional education expenditure

10 2007‑08 Budget Overview