Higher Education Reforms Get Senate Committee Tick

Date —

25 September 2020

Education Sector/s —
Higher Education

Summary —

A Senate Committee has given its tick to proposed higher education legislative reforms that includes a reduction to the FEE-HELP student loan tax. It also seeks to place higher education providers on an equal footing when it comes to course advertising and promotion.

Key Issues —

The Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 was referred by the Senate to it's Education and Employment Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 25 September 2020.

The Bill contains a range of measures relevant to higher education funding in Australia that are not relevant to most independent higher education providers; however, there were two significant measures in the Bill of interest to members of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA).

The first are measures to extend and strengthen student protections and provider integrity, and ensure higher education providers are more accountable for the outcomes they deliver for students, industry and the wider community. These changes have been welcomed by the ITECA membership as it removes the different approaches that were permitted for different types of higher education provider.

Following strong advocacy of ITECA and other stakeholders in the sector, the Bill also proposes a reduction of the higher education FEE-HELP student loan tax from 25% to 20%. Although this is a long-way from ITECA’s preferred option of its permanent elimination, the reduction has been welcomed.

In its final report, the Senate Committee has recommended that the Bill be passed, and that the Australian Government undertake a review of the bill two years after commencement. The Senate Committee’s report can be downloaded from the link below. 


Document Download ―
Senate Committee Report


2020 Higher Education Reform Senate Committee Inquiry Report [PDF]

Consistent with its leadership role in the higher education sector, ITECA prepared a submission to assist the Senate Committee and also appeared before the Senate Committee to provide evidence. The submission was prepared following extensive consultation with independent higher education providers serving on the ITECA Higher Education Reference Committee.

"ITECA was pleased to have the ability to set out to Senator's the support of the independent higher education sector for the passage of the Bill, particularly the reduction in the FEE-HELP student loan tax.  ITECA continues to push for the permanent elimination of the student loan tax," said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

A significant chapter of the Senate Committee’s report was devoted to a dissenting view of the Labor Opposition that particularly focused on the funding reforms.

ITECA’s policy advocacy team in Canberra has been engaged in dialogue with cross-bench Senators to express ITECA’s support for the Bill and its passage through the parliament.

Getting Involved —

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Higher Education Reference Group.  ITECA Membership – It's a great time to get involved.

Further Information —

If you're an ITECA member and would like more information on this matter, the ITECA team would value the opportunity to talk to you.  Simply send an email to higher.education@iteca.edu.au or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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