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The University Accord advocates for increasing access to university education for under-represented groups (Bigstock)

Universities could soon be facing major funding changes as the biggest review of the sector in decades calls for a radical reshaping of the tertiary education sector. Source: ABC News.

The Australian Universities Accord has recommended funding be delivered on a needs basis, similar to primary and high school funding, where extra loadings would be provided based on student and institutional disadvantage to make the system more accessible.

Its call to boost university attainment rates nationally to 80 per cent would effectively create a demand-driven system for disadvantaged students.

The review provides the Albanese Government with a blueprint for long-term changes as it seeks to tackle skills shortages in health, child care, science, education and manufacturing.

The Universities Accord said failing to increase student numbers would “do lasting damage to Australia’s prospects of national economic success” as well as damage social cohesion by locking out certain groups from higher-paid jobs.

Also among the recommendations are calls to double the number of university places, force institutions to pay those doing compulsory placements, increase the tertiary attainment target to 80 per cent by 2050 and abolish the former Coalition Government’s “failed” Job-Ready Graduates policy.

Increasing access to university education for under-represented groups is key to the review’s vision for Australia’s tertiary sector.

Those under-represented include students who are First Nations, from poor backgrounds, have a disability and/or come from a regional, rural or remote area.

“Australia needs to recognise that people from groups under-represented in higher education on average require greater support to succeed, often due to experiencing educational disadvantage,” the panel said.

“The review recommends the introduction of a needs-based funding model that acknowledges the cost of this additional support and the locality of the institution they attend, and includes bonuses to providers for student completions.”

Education Minister Jason Clare said following through on the recommendations of the accord would require substantial funding from the federal Government and reshaping parts of the sector.


Australian Universities Accord report recommends sweeping changes to tertiary education (By Claudia Long, Conor Duffy and Shalailah Medhora, ABC News)


University review calls for major expansion to meet skills needs (The Australian)

Higher payments to students through ‘earn and learn’ reforms (The Australian