University response to Federal Government’s proposed funding reforms

Funding reforms

The University of Melbourne will continue to be a comprehensive university with a history of excellence in the arts, humanities and social sciences alongside the natural sciences, following the Federal Government’s proposed funding reforms to the higher education sector.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said: “We are committed to being an enviable higher education institution which is home to a flourishing global community of natural science academics, practitioners of the creative arts, social science scholars and experts from all the disciplines for many years to come.”

Professor Maskell said the University is continuing to work through the financial and organisational challenges driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and also the implications of the proposed funding reforms. He said if the University continues with its current student profile it will be approximately $3 million worse off per annum at a whole of University level “which is a small amount of money compared to the approximately $300 million that we will very likely need to find every year for the next three years because of the fall in our revenue” as a result of the pandemic.

“This $3 million shortfall might well be mitigated once we understand how other elements of the funding package, such as the National Priorities and Industry Liaison Fund, will operate and arrangements around transitional funding become clearer. We are well set up to offer our students maximum flexibility because of how our curriculum works and we remain committed to ensuring that they are well-equipped to take their place as future leaders in a time of rapid transformation,” Professor Maskell said.

“These reforms are part of a bigger picture, one that will encompass the future of research and require us to rise to the challenge of focusing our efforts in striving for excellence and prioritizing areas where we can make a real difference. We will need to be more efficient, more focused on the needs of students and responsive to a future that, as 2020 has shown us, is unpredictable and can be very challenging.

“Our enduring purpose is to benefit society through the transformative impact of education and research. It is through this combination of education and research that we will continue to make vital contributions to the national economy and society more generally. Our educational principles remain unchanged - we value broad and comprehensive education and all the disciplines, including arts, humanities and social sciences are the threads that are woven into our fabric.”