UniSC response to Accord Final Report | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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UniSC response to Accord Final Report

The University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) welcomes the release of the Australian Universities Accord Final Report, and  congratulates the Expert Panel for producing a comprehensive analysis of the sector’s opportunities and challenges.

We commend the Report’s focus on broadening higher education opportunities and the need for greater support for regional universities.

The Report’s findings and recommendations very clearly recognise the fundamental role that universities such as UniSC play in supporting the economy, our current and future workforces, industry relevant research and the local communities which host us. 

Professor Helen Bartlett, UniSC Vice-Chancellor and President said it was pleasing to see that many of the findings and recommendations reflect the important reforms advocated for by UniSC and other stakeholders throughout the Accord consultation process. 

“Consistent with the premise of the Accord Interim Report, the Final Report delivers a clear message to the Government and the sector about the need to accelerate the participation and attainment of under-represented groups in higher education,” Professor Bartlett said. 

“The Final Report makes a compelling case that reaching the proposed participation target of least 80 per cent of the workforce with a VET or university qualification by 2050 cannot be achieved without increasing the number of Australians from outer suburbs, the regions, disadvantaged backgrounds and Indigenous Australians going to university.” 

“To that end, we welcome the recommendations to reform the current Job Ready Graduates package, particularly the adjustment of student contribution amounts. We also support other key student centric proposals such as improvements to the HELP scheme, greater student income support, adjusting the Tertiary Access Payment, more opportunities for students to earn while they learn and financial support for students undertaking mandatory unpaid placements.”  

“We strongly endorse the recommendation for a new university funding model, including the proposal for needs-based funding and demand driven fee-free preparatory courses which would be key enablers for increasing higher education access for students from low SES backgrounds, First Nations students and students with a disability. A needs-based funding model should be based on student headcount rather than the current equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) approach which underfunds the true cost of delivery, particularly universities like ours with higher part-time and equity group student profiles”. 

“From a research perspective, UniSC supports the recommendation for the Government to outline a pathway towards more fully funding university research. As part of this work, the Government also needs to consider how to better fund shared research and innovation infrastructure in regional Australia, including at regional universities.” 

The Report sets out an ambitious blueprint for the future of higher education in Australia. UniSC looks forward to the Government’s response to the Final Report and working collaboratively with all stakeholders on the implementation of agreed priorities. 

UniSC’s submission in response to the Accord Interim Report can be read here.  

Media enquiries: Please contact the Media Team media@usc.edu.au