ESA 2015 Professional Development #4 - Dr Janine Dixon "Alternative Approaches to Fee Flexibility: Towards a third way in higher education reform in Australia"


From: Thursday April 30, 2015, 12:30 pm

To: Thursday April 30, 2015, 1:30 pm

Please register: The topic: Janine will be presenting on her recent paper, co-authored by Peter Dawkins. A major issue for the future of tertiary education is to ensure that Australia continues to expand its investment in skills and capabilities, to enable a future of prosperity which is available to all. The government’s proposal for full-fee deregulation in higher education was voted down by the Senate for the second time in March this year. It has been subjected to criticism from the cross-benchers and from a number of expert commentators that there are serious risks with the proposal including the risk of excessive student fees and excessive debts. The paper argues, that what is required is not full deregulation of fees, or a return to a more regulated model with tight fee regulation and a possible reversion to more regulation of student numbers as well. What is required is a ‘third way’ incorporating some degree of price flexibility, and an enhanced equity package, while retaining the demand driven model. The paper, therefore, is concerned with exploring alternative ways of sustaining the demand driven system by allowing some degree of flexibility in student fees, while avoiding excessive fee rises and allowing for some degree of price competition. Consideration is also given to ways in which the equity aspects of the package could be enhanced. The analysis and consideration of the policy challenge leads to the conclusion that the most promising way forward is a two-part package incorporating
  1.  a taper model whereby tuition subsidies are reduced according a progressive taper rate schedule, when fees rise above a threshold level; and
  2. an enhanced Higher Education Participation Program (HEPP), incorporating scholarships for all low socioeconomic status background students across the system, and additional support for interventions for reducing the attrition rates of at-risk students.
The speaker: Dr Janine Dixon is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) at Victoria University. Prior to joining CoPS in 2007 she worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (1997-2002) where she was the manager of various surveys of the service industries in Australia. Dr Dixon has a PhD from the University of Dublin, Trinity College (2006) and a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours from Monash University (1997). Janine’s interests include the theory and practical application of large scale dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) models. She has worked extensively with the Vic-Uni, MMRF and TERM models of the Australian economy, undertaking economic consultations for various public and private sector clients in Australian and internationally. R23Id_8N


Victorian Competition & Efficiency Commission (VCEC) Offices (Level 37)

2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Victoria

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