IHEA Welcomes Budget Focus on Skills: Student Equity Measures Remain Essential to Economic Recovery

Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA) welcomes the 2022 Budget’s focus on skills and training and investment in critical needs areas including aged care and digital training.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it abundantly clear that the domestic economy needs substantial investment in training to address skills and workforce shortages. This budget’s investment in apprenticeships and training needs in aged care and digital industries is critical to addressing current economic demands.

Small business incentives to up-skill workers through tax rebates on approved training courses are also welcomed and will support workers to advance their careers through education.

IHEA also welcomes the investment in cost-of-living relief and tax relief for low-income earners. Many students and their families survive on low incomes while they are undertaking tertiary education and need urgent support.

Australian tertiary students who are supported today will go on to contribute substantially to the Australian economy of the future.

The 2022 budget implements announcements made in the December 2021 MYEFO statement including:

- Further exemption of the Higher Education FEE-HELP Loan Fee for 2022.

- Deferral of implementation of TEQSA full cost recovery until 2023.

- Waiving of certain TEQSA and ASQA regulatory fees in 2022.

- Waiving of international TPS levies in 2022.

- Extended funding of the Innovation Grants program for ELICOS providers.

Australian independent higher education is critical to addressing the industry needs of today and educating the workforce of the future.

Independent higher education enrolments continue to grow with students choosing institutions that lead the sector on quality measures and deliver courses targeted at student demand. Recently released enrolment data shows that the independent sector now educates 170,000 domestic and international students.

IHEA looks to the next Australian government to build on the support and relief provided in this budget and deliver competitive neutrality in the tertiary education sector and student loan equity for all students.

Abolition of the 20% student loan tax, reduced tuition fee pressures through a return to partial regulatory cost recovery, and access to funded places in national priority fields are priorities for independent sector students and their families in 2022.

Media Contact: Matthew Coote, IHEA Communications Manager (matthew.coote@ihea.edu.au)

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