Last week in The Australian, Australian National University economics professors Bruce Chapman and Rabee Tourky reignited a debate about a levy on international student tuition revenue (“Universities should pay levy on ‘foreign student industry’ ”, 15/11).
For several weeks, those interested in higher education have been contemplating the interim report of the Universities Accord review.
The report makes many insightful and far-reaching observations. Undoubtedly it will be a turning point for important aspects of the educational offerings within our public universities.
It’s now virtually certain that the South Australian Legislative Council, the state’s upper house, will initiate a parliamentary inquiry into the planned merger of the state’s two largest universities.
For several years economist Keith Houghton, a former business and economics dean at the Australian National University, has been gathering data on the productivity performance of Australian universities to give a picture of the efficiency of their research and the efficiency of their teaching.
The University of Melbourne is facing a massive budget deterioration of nearly $600m this year, driven by a collapse in investment income and the growing cost of post-pandemic recovery.
One can be forgiven for thinking that the pandemic has resulted in universities being thrown into a quagmire of seemingly unfathomable challenges.
Shortly after the pandemic’s onset, there was a view that Australia’s universities were facing a ‘perfect storm’ of negative events. With more limited international student tuition income and no access to JobKeeper funding offered to others, the public universities faced the daunting task of navigating through seemingly inevitable financial challenges.
South Australia’s new Premier, Peter Malinauskas, has proposed creating a commission to investigate merging the state’s public universities.
Last month, university data for 2020 was released by Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert. This first official data reveals the effects of the pandemic on Australia’s universities.
HERG’s central methodology for measuring university productivity is the Research and Education Frontier (REEF) Index, which is described more fully in another Explainer. The REEF method can use different inputs, but commonly we use the number of students educated and the number of research publications per million dollars of expenditure.