The University of Western Sydney’s vice chancellor Barney Glover said the university would consult with students to better understand the federal budget’s impact on the affordability and accessibility of degrees.
He said the reforms’ key feature is deregulation that would allow universities and private higher education providers to set tuition fees, accompanied by changes to student HELP loan scheme interest rates.
''It will be important to determine if this acts as a deterrent to university study.''— Professor Barney Glover
‘‘This is a major shift in the responsibility for funding from the Commonwealth to students, with estimates that the student contribution will increase on average to about 50 per cent of the cost of a higher education program,’’ Professor Glover said.
‘‘UWS is particularly concerned that this will place additional financial burdens on students, and it will be important to determine if this acts as a deterrent to university study.
‘‘This could have further implications for national productivity and regional development at a time when Australia and Western Sydney face considerable economic and labour market challenges.’’
Professor Glover said university staff did not wish to see ‘‘policy decisions that narrow the door to higher education’’ when increasing the skilled workforce and industry innovation were economic development priorities for Australia.
‘‘We will be working with the university’s board of trustees to assess the impact of these changes and determine the university’s response to them,’’ he said.
‘‘I remain very confident about the future of UWS and our capacity to continue to develop and grow as a world-class institution within a competitive, deregulated higher education system. This remains a priority for the university and the region.’’
UWS has six campuses across greater Sydney including at Kingswood and Parramatta.