Higher Education Standards Panel to review university entrance scores


A panel of experts will consider whether universities should reveal the minimum, median and top marks for all students accepted into courses.

The Higher Education Standards Panel will also collate submissions from across the country in an effort to ensure students are better prepared for higher education.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said changes could help inform students about whether they can successfully complete their degrees.

He also said more information around the admissions process would make both students and universities more accountable.

“Transparency is absolutely the key to ensuring that students make informed choices and that universities are accountable for who they are taking in to their university programs and the calibre of the students that they’re taking,” Senator Birmingham said.

“I think it’s absolutely reasonable to be exploring all of these types of options for reform around admissions standards and really is essential that the standards panel consider every possible manner in which they can improve that transparency around university admissions procedures.”

Senator Birmingham said the panel would look both ATAR and non-ATAR entrance requirements.

In a statement, panel chair Peter Shergold said the least universities could do was to offer “simple, clear and comparable admissions policies”.

“Students and their families need to be able to make fully informed decisions about what is best for them — what is required to get in to higher education and what support is provided to help them succeed,” he said.

Government to reveal more details of higher education policy

The announcement comes as the Government prepares to unveil more details of the its higher education policy.

Senator Birmingham confirmed the Government remained committed to finding savings, following the release of figures from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) predicting a blow-out in the levels of student debts.

He told the ABC that talks were continuing with the university sector about the best way to manage the issue, and promised more details before voters go to the polls.

“We’ll have more to say ahead of the election about higher education policy and we’ll make sure that Australians understand what we’re doing, the reasons why we’re doing it,” he said.

“Our universities do need to be able to differentiate between each other, to innovate on the world stage, and that of course does require a certain degree of latitude for them in terms of how they structure their course and how they finance their courses to some extent.”

The amount never to be repaid on loans issued in 2018-19 is predicted to exceed $4.4 billion — nearly four times higher than expected from loans issued last financial year.

The HELP loan system, including for university courses and vocational training, allows students to defer course payments and subsidises the interest rate on their debt.

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