Higher Education – Getting More Students To Graduate

Enrolment at university isn’t an end in itself.

The previous Labor Government opened access to university – 190,000 more students are at university today as a result of our reforms.

Access will always matter to Labor – and we will continue to support the demand driven system. But our next wave of university reform will focus on completion and quality.

We want Australian students who start university to finish university with a degree. 

Department of Education figures show that 23 per cent of people who started a degree as full-time students in 2006 had not completed it after eight years. There is evidence that attrition rates have been getting worse in recent years, meaning even more students are likely to leave university with a debt but no degree.

With the Commonwealth investing $14 billion of taxpayers’ money in universities every year, Australians are right to expect outcomes that benefit the entire community; young Australians graduating as teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers and scientists enhancing our society and our economy.

A Shorten Labor Government will set an ambitious goal to increase the number of students completing their study by 20,000 graduates per year from 2020.

Labor will work with the university sector to ensure that incentives within the demand driven system are introduced to achieve this goal.

And because students need to graduate with skills, knowledge and resilience for their working life, not just mark their name off at class, a Shorten Labor Government will invest an additional $31 million in Tertiary Education Quality Standards Australia.

The boost to TEQSA will lift the quality of teaching and resources to ensure that students graduate with a high quality education that will win them the jobs of the future.

This additional investment will provide the assurance that our investment in higher education is achieving the right outcomes, for students as well as our economy: highly skilled, highly adaptable, technology literate graduates ready to compete in the world.

Investing in education is the single most important thing we can do to maintain Australia’s prosperity and secure the jobs of the future.

Labor has always been committed to opening access to higher education to more Australians and supporting universities as critical drivers of innovation across the economy.