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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Budget | 2014-15

Budget 2014-15
Australian Government Coat of Arms, Budget 2014-15

Building a world-class higher education system

The Government is helping to build a sector that is more responsive, diverse and innovative to ensure we remain an attractive destination for international education and are not left behind by global competition

Building a world-class higher education system

The Government's higher education reforms aim to ensure that Australia has one of the world's best higher education systems. The reforms will:

  • expand opportunities for students;
  • ensure Australia is not left behind in global competition at a time of rising performance by universities around the world;
  • offer more support for disadvantaged students through a new scholarship scheme;
  • support more courses, greater diversity and more skills for our workforce; and
  • ensure that Australia's higher education system is sustainable into the future.

The current situation

Higher education is one of the most successful new export industries in Australia. Higher education comprises two thirds of education exports, which is now our fourth largest export earner.

However, the sector remains highly regulated, which is constraining diversity, innovation and quality.

Uncapping Commonwealth‑supported places in public universities has led to a sharp rise in students, which has also led to increased costs for higher education incurred by the Government.

Uncapped student places are now estimated to cost an additional $7.6 billion over the five years from 2013‑14.

Australian university graduates on average earn 75 per cent more than school leavers.

University graduates have substantially higher lifetime earnings than non-graduates
This chart shows the difference in median gross lifetime income between graduates and Year 12 completers. The difference is around one millon dollars.  To the right of the chart is text stating that Australian university graduates on average earn 75 per cent more than school leavers.

Source: Department of Education estimates, based on Graduate winners, August 2012, Grattan Institute, p51.