Just a couple of days after I was lamenting with a friend the death of free university education since the heady post-Whitlam days, and the subsequent changes to campus life, along comes the ‘uni chief’ today in the AGE, arguing that universities should be given the power to set higher student fees, ostensibly to help disadvantaged students.
Monash boss Richard Larkins called for an overhaul of the HECs funding scheme, but this quote was the clincher:
“The student contribution amount for HECS students should be deregulated. There
is no evidence that HECS is a disincentive for students and if our best
universities are to be internationally competitive, a step change in
funding is required.”
Presumably Larkins wants to bring the fees up to a point where they ARE a disincentive for students. With fewer students universities can get on with the key work of being ‘internationally competitive’
Professor Larkins is also the head of
lobby group Universities Australia.