The Government Could Cap Uni Places From 2018, So Happy ATAR Day Everyone

Here’s some great news on the same day ATAR rankings are revealed.

The Federal Government could slap a limit on the number of government-funded university courses offered from 2018, as it struggles to claw back billions of dollars pumped into the tertiary education sector.

The ABC reports Education Minister Simon Birmingham may be forced to re-instate a limit on the number of places available to students using the HECS scheme, six years after the limit was first abolished.

Capping the number of placements is one of a diminishing number of options the government has to save cash in the sector, after the Senate nuked Birmingham’s plan to hike uni fees and tweak the HECS repayment formula earlier this year.

Any proposed changes are expected to be delivered in Birmingham’s half-yearly update on Monday. It’s currently unclear where the limit would be set, but government-funded university enrolments have ballooned to over 615,000 in 2016 – up from 440,000 back in 2008.

While some elite universities have previously backed such a move, Birmingham himself has opposed it on the basis that it could restrict some would-be students from pursuing a higher education.

When the discussion arose last year, he told the Sydney Morning Herald an uncapped number of government-funded places “has particularly provided low socio-economic students and Indigenous students with greater opportunities to enrol in a higher education course.”

We’ll see if Birmingham has been forced back on that position next week.