Universities “deeply disappointed” by cuts to support for disadvantaged students
May 06, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
A scheme which has increased the number of disadvantaged students attending university by a third has been slashed by $152 million in the federal budget.
Universities are “deeply disappointed” by the cut, according to Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson.
“All Australians with the ability to do so should have the opportunity to undertake life-changing higher education,” said Robinson.
“Improving equity in higher education is not only fair, but an essential platform for building the diverse, skilled workforce of the future.”
The Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme pays universities to admit students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Ms Robinson said the cuts will affect projects such as tutoring to improve numeracy skills and mentoring to help lift student retention rates.
"Budget cuts to programs supporting disadvantaged students are counterproductive", Ms Robinson said.
"The HEPP program has seen more students from low-income backgrounds start on the path to university education than ever before.
“Since 2010, the number of low SES students starting at university grew by a third with the support of this programme."
The scheme will be funded at less than half its current rate from next year, with an annual budget allocation of just over $140m from 2017-19.