©2018 by polity.

  • Alex Wok

University Funding


  • In mid-1974, the Whitlam government abolished university fees in an attempt to make tertiary education more accessible for working & middle class Australians.

  • This initiative was replaced with the current HECS system by the Hawke/Labor government, as it was believed that free tertiary education was unsustainable, due to increasing participation rates.

  • This system was further reformed by the Howard/Liberal government, so that fees were charged on the basis of the perceived value of courses. This meant that courses considered to have most likelihood of generating higher income (e.g. Law, Medicine) were the most expensive.

  • Moreover, from 1 July 2018, the income level at which HECS debt repayments will be reduced from $55,000 to $42,000. The minimum wage in Australia is $36,000 per year.


Should Australia cut university

funding to solve its budget deficit?


  1. Adelaide Now; 'Vicki Thomson: Proposed university funding cuts are an outrageous cash grab from young students and graduates'

  2. Universities Australia; 'Universities Australia Paper: The Facts on University Funding'

  3. Northern Star; 'SCU protests 'higher education swindle''

  4. The Australian; 'World university rankings under threat if unis take a cut'

  5. News.com.au; 'University funding reportedly to be cut substantially in Federal Budget 2017'

  6. The Guardian; 'University students face fee rise of 7.5% as funding to sector cut by $2.8bn'

  7. The Australian; 'Funding cuts spell doom for the university sector as we know it'

  8. AFR; 'University productivity boost would save $500m a year, easily meeting the government's demand for greater efficiency'

  9. AFR; 'Simon Birmingham tells unis the pressure to constrain funding won't go away'