NCSEHE Submission to the Job-ready Graduates Package draft legislation consultation
The NCSEHE would like to thank the Department of Education, Skills and Employment for the opportunity to provide feedback on the exposure draft for Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 (Department of Education, Skills and Employment, 2020).
The NCSEHE supports the potential contribution of the Job-ready Graduates Package to addressing multiple facets of the higher education student experience. There are a number of reforms advocated by the NCSEHE. However, careful work is required in refining and adjusting the reforms to ensure students, particularly those from recognised equity groups, are not negatively impacted.
Based on the research and policy work undertaken by the NCSEHE, and its consultation with equity stakeholders, we propose the following recommendations, which we hope will inform the ways in which this reform package is structured and defined:
Recommendation 1: The Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) examines the impact of changes in funding allocations on equity group undergraduate enrolments and considers measures to minimise these. This would include exploring how these funding changes impact longitudinally on diversity in affected disciplines.
Recommendation 2: The DESE considers a phased introduction of these new funding clusters to enable students to recalibrate their choices of profession and also, prepare future cohorts for the increased financial expectation.
Recommendation 3: The DESE extends demand-driven funding to include more equity groups, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students located in metropolitan areas, all students in RRR areas as well as students from low SES backgrounds.
Recommendation 4: The DESE considers the range of repercussions from removing Commonwealth funding when students do not pass 50% of the units undertaken (either 8 or 4 units depending on program of study) with specific focus on the impacts on those students from recognised equity groups.
Recommendation 5: The DESE examines the potential for an extension of the Tertiary Access Payment, in full or modified form, to regional students attending local regional universities, and also a possible extension to other equity student groups.
Recommendation 6: The DESE seeks input and feedback from the broader higher education sector in drafting changes to the Other Grants Guidelines, in relation to IRLSAF and NPILF, particularly as it relates to the prospective operation of the HEPPP.
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