The Federal Government has categorically ruled out any significant changes to the costs of higher education, with Minister for Higher Education, Senator Chris Evans, reiterating the Government's pledge to increase availability of tertiary education.

Senator Evans made the announcement earlier this week in releasing the Federal Government's official response to the Higher Education Base Funding Review Report.

"Given the record investment in recurrent and capital funding for our universities made by this Government, there will be no further general increase in base funding at this stage," Senator Evans said.

Senator Evans said the Base Funding Review has informed higher education policy over the past 12 months and a number of important recommendations have been implemented.

These include:

  • Rebasing Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program funding to allow for an estimated $1,400 per low SES full time student place - $400 per student higher than the rate recommended by the Review;
  • Continuing support for students with the costs of study through the HECS HELP scheme and retention of maximum amounts for student contribution;
  • Increasing the amount of enabling loading per student and setting this at a per capita rate that will be indexed in future years; and
  • Retaining postgraduate coursework study funding at the same rate as for undergraduate courses.

Senator Evans thanked the expert panel, chaired by Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, for preparing the report.