Go8 Response – Evaluation of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program

7 Sep 2016
6 September 2016
HEPPP Evaluation ACIL Allen Consulting
9/60 Collins St
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
E: HEPPPevaluation@acilallen.com.au

Dear Sir/Madam

Go8 Response – Evaluation of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program

The Group of Eight (Go8) welcomes the opportunity to provide comment as part of the evaluation of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

The HEPPP remains a very successful and essential funding program that enables undergraduate students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds who have the ability to study at university the opportunity to do so.

That is not to suggest, however, that the Program could not be enhanced, supplemented or improved. Indeed, there have been a number of cuts to the overall HEPPP funding pool—the first in the 2012-2013 Budget—that have most likely blunted the effectiveness of the Program for students from target groups.This evaluation, therefore is particularly timely and critical.

Please note that the comments and recommendations below and in the attached background document represent the views of the Go8 network; member universities may also make their own, more detailed submissions.

Recommendations

Many of the recommendations from the Go8 seek to achieve longer term outcomes. In this context, stability of funding mechanisms that support the program are crucial to the success of initiatives that lift aspiration and participation and provide support for disadvantaged students. This stability and surety allows for proper planning of programs and enables them to be better delivered in key areas and across target groups.

1. Restore funding for HEPPP to the previously budgeted $205.1 million as soon as practicable.

2. Overall HEPPP funding increases should be linked to the Higher Education Grants Index to ensure ongoing program funding reflects ongoing costs of delivery.

3. Project funding through HEPPP needs to be allocated on a three-year basis, as opposed to annually, to ensure effective programs, partnerships and outcomes can be delivered.

4. Program funding design should not incorporate a threshold of low SES (such as by percentage of total student numbers at the university) for funding should follow students to the largest extent possible.

5. Reinstate Commonwealth Start-up Scholarships for disadvantaged students with particular emphasis on alleviating accommodation and other living costs. 6. Improvements to the ongoing evaluation of HEPPP are crucial. The Government should develop a streamlined and enhanced evaluation methodology for consultation as soon as practicable.

Click here for the full response.