No upfront cost promise

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham addresses the media in Armadale back in May, 2017.
Camera IconFederal Education Minister Simon Birmingham addresses the media in Armadale back in May, 2017. Credit: The West Australian, Nic Ellis.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has moved to allay fears over the impact the Government’s university reforms will have on students in Rockingham.

Mr Birmingham told the Telegraph there would be no upfront costs to Murdoch University’s On Track program, a 14-week preparation course which allows successful students to apply directly for undergraduate degrees.

Last week concerns were raised by Brand MP Madeleine King and Murdoch University provost Andrew Taggart that any charge to On Track program would drive potential students away.

But Mr Birmingham said the reforms package, which is before the Senate, would bring the program into line with other university fee models.

“There’s no upfront cost for enabling courses and those students will be treated exactly the same as their peers doing other courses at university where the student loan program applies,” he said.

“Taxpayer funding for universities has grown at twice the rate of the economy since 2009. Our reforms still see university teaching revenue grow by a further 23 per cent over the forward estimates, just at a more sustainable trajectory to ensure the ongoing viability of ... funding and access.

“We’re expanding the demand-driven system and the taxpayer-funded student loan program to sub-bachelor courses where they translate into further qualifications and align with industry needs while ensuring that enabling places go to the institutions with the best record of helping students succeed.”

So far this year 90 students have enrolled in the On Track program at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus, while more than 380 have enrolled Statewide.

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