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Australian Government funding for university medical places
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Australian Government funding for university medical places

As the gateway to the medical profession, medical schools have a role in addressing a range of issues in Australian health policy, including persistent geographical inequalities in access, and shortages in specialisations such as psychiatry. Recent policy, including a limited redistribution of university medical places in favour of regional universities, has focused on redistributing existing resources to address chronic geographical shortages. However, on 5 May 2022, the Group of Eight (Go8) universities attracted attention with the release of a paper arguing that 1,000 additional medical places are needed to secure the pipeline of medical professionals. This FlagPost explains Australian ... Read more...

Student safety: the roles and responsibilities of universities

On 23 March 2022, the Social Research Centre (SRC) of the Australian National University released the results of the 2021 National Student Safety Survey (NSSS). Funded by Universities Australia (UA) through its Respect. Now. Always. initiative, the NSSS examines the prevalence and experiences of sexual assault and harassment among university students in a university context. This includes off-campus experiences where university students or staff are present, and university organised or supported places and events. Read more...

Report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review—implications for higher education
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Report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review—implications for higher education

Next Steps, the report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Review was released on 24 February 2022. The report contains 17 recommendations addressing issues ranging from raising the status of teaching and attracting high-quality candidates to ensuring that ITE programs are high-quality, evidence-based, and practically relevant. However, the Government’s immediate response focused on strengthening the link between ITE and funding for providers (recommendation 15). The Government has announced the establishment of an ITE Quality Assessment Expert Panel to develop excellence thresholds and advise on linking these to funding incentives. The detail of any funding changes will de... Read more...

Updated Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt statistics—2020–21

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released new data on the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) debts, covering the 2020–21 financial year. This article summarises the ATO HELP data. Previous versions were published for the 2019–20 financial year release, 2018–19 financial year release, 2017–18 financial year release, and the 2016–17 financial year release. All figures are at 30 June for the relevant financial year. Figures have not been adjusted for inflation.  Total amount of outstanding HELP debt In 2020–21, outstanding HELP debt rose to just over $68.7 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2019–20 (Figure 1). The change... Read more...

Higher Education Support Amendment (Extending the Student Loan Fee Exemption) Bill 2021
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Higher Education Support Amendment (Extending the Student Loan Fee Exemption) Bill 2021

On 13 May 2021, the Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge, introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (Extending the Student Loan Fee Exemption) Bill 2021 (the Bill) to the House of Representatives.  The purpose of the Bill is to extend the FEE-HELP loan fee exemption, which is currently in place until 30 June 2021, to 31 December 2021. The loan fee exemption was initially introduced as part of the Higher Education Relief Package in response to COVID-19.   Read more...

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