One-third to receive scholarships under deregulation

27 October 2014

Almost a third of the University of Sydney's domestic undergraduate students could receive scholarships if the Federal Government's higher education reforms are passed in the Senate this week, according to modelling released today.

Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence has previously emphasised his intention to use additional revenue from deregulated fees to fund a scholarship program as well as improve teaching and learning at the University of Sydney.

For students with the greatest financial need, the level of support is likely to mean they will be better off under the deregulated system, regardless of their course of study. For example, a teaching student receiving the top level of financial support would be able to cover the increased HECS with that scholarship while also having funds to assist with living expenses.

The University of Western Australia has proposed pricing in the context of the government's planned deregulation of student fees, advising a flat fee of $16,000 per year of undergraduate study in 2016. The University of Sydney's modelling reveals that if it were to apply a similar approach, it would be able to inject an additional $80 million into student financial support. The University currently provides $80 million in scholarships to coursework and research students, funded mainly by government schemes, private donors and University reserves.

The University believes the additional scholarship fund would be best provided to students in part as support for living costs while students are studying, and in part as a debt payoff upon graduation and said it would investigate this proposal further.

"We are deeply committed to ensuring that the brightest students, regardless of their social or cultural background, should have access to a world-class education," said Dr Spence.

"We are dedicated to playing a leadership role in Australia by not only sustaining, but also improving access to tertiary education for underrepresented groups.

"The University of Sydney was the first in the world to admit students on academic merit alone, and for more than 160 years we have held that principle as fundamental to our purpose.

"Our new, sector-leading scholarships guarantee that Australia's brightest students will continue to have a place at the University of Sydney."

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