The HERI Budget Overview 2018-19 summarises the main areas for investment in higher education for financial year 2018-19.

Research

The Government has invested $1.9 billion over 12 years as part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). This helps secure Australia’s research future by supporting national research infrastructure (NRI).

This in addition to:

  • $259 million to support high performance computing and astronomy committed in 2017-18
  • $150 million per year (indexed) announced in 2015

For more information, you can email researchinfrastructure@dese.gov.au.

Students in Regional Australia

The Australian Government is increasing opportunities for higher education students in rural and regional areas by providing:

  • $28.2 million to expand the availability of sub-bachelor (including enabling) places
  • $16.7 million over four years to assist in the establishment and maintenance of up to 8 regional study hubs
  • $14 million to fully support an additional 500 Commonwealth supported bachelor places for students studying at regional study hubs

Meeting Rural Medical Education and Workforce Needs

The Australian Government is implementing strategies to increase the supply of medical graduates. This aims to expand opportunities for learning and training in rural Australia by:

  • Providing an Assessment Framework to evaluate proposals for new medical schools or campuses and/or medical Commonwealth supported places (CSPs) against key Government priorities
     
  • Evenly applying enrolment controls across all medical students, not just those in Government subsidised places. This will help align medical workforce supply with national health care needs.
     
  • Withholding around 2 per cent (up to 60 places) of existing commencing medical CSPs every 3 years. This places will be redistributed between universities through a competitive process, starting from 2021
    • The first redistribution round will prioritise regional medical students and integrated regional training
    • 30 of the 60 medical CSPs from the first redistribution round will be allocated to support a new rural medical school network in the Murray Darling region
    • Universities whose medical CSP allocations are reduced will be allowed a commensurate increase in their international full-fee paying medical enrolments
       
  • Establishing a series of full rural medical school programs in the Murray Darling region

Cost recovery

The Australian Government will move to full cost recovery for a number of key higher education services.

This is in line with the Australian Government Charging Framework, which requires that full cost recovery is generally expected from non-government recipients of government services.

To date, these services have not been compliant with the Charging Framework.

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

A new charging model will be introduced to fully recover the cost of TEQSA 's regulatory activity, comprising:

  • Increased application-based service fees to recover the full cost of regulatory assessment work; and
  • A new annual sector-wide levy that recovers all of TEQSA 's other regulatory monitoring, compliance and risk activities that have sector-wide focus and benefit.

Consultation with stakeholders will take place in the coming weeks, through a draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement for TEQSA.

The cost recovery arrangements were announced in the 2018-19 Budget to be phased in over four years from 1 January 2019.

MYEFO 2019 Update: Implementation of the TEQSA cost recovery arrangements was deferred to 1 July 2020.

Further update: in the context of COVID-19 support measures, implementation of TEQSA cost recovery arrangements was further deferred to 1 July 2021.

HELP

There will be 2 new charges applied to the Higher Education sector to support regulatory activities to maintain the sustainability of the Higher Education Loan Program HELP program.

The new charges to be introduced on 1 January 2019 are:

  • A flat fee on applications from registered higher education providers seeking approval to offer FEE-HELP
  • An annual charge to all HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP providers based on their size

The new charging model will:

  • Increase application-based service fees to recover the full cost of regulatory assessment work
  • Introduce an annual sector-wide levy that recovers all of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency's other regulatory monitoring, compliance and risk activities that have sector-wide focus and benefit.
  • Be phased in over 4 years from 1 January 2020

To support regulatory activities for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) the following two charges were introduced on 1 January 2019:

  • A flat fee on applications from registered higher education providers seeking approval to offer FEE-HELP
  • An annual charge to all HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP providers based on their size

A draft Cost Recovery implementation Statement (CRIS) was released for consultation to the higher education sector on 31 October 2018.