The Australian Law Students Association (ALSA) has called on the Federal Government to review the per-student funding allocated to Australian universities. Universities currently receive $1674 per year for each law student they enrol.
"'There hasn't been a serious review of the amount universities receive per student in each course since 1991, when the Relative Funding Model was introduced," said ALSA Vice-President Education Chris Holmes.
Holmes was responding to a Federal Government announcement of plans to increase participation in higher education by moving to a demand-driven funding model. Education Minister Julia Gillard announced in March that by 2012 universities would be funded on a demand-driven model, under which universities receive funding for each student in an accredited course. By 2025, the Government wants 40 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds to have obtained a bachelors degree.
Holmes was critical of Gillard's Commonwealth funding proposal: "Gillard's plan assumes that the current funding is adequate - this is simply not true. In many disciplines, such as Law and Engineering, the amount universities receive does not cover the cost of teaching," Holmes said.
"Commonwealth-Supported Places have to be subsidised from more profitable courses or full-fee places. Taking more Commonwealth-Supported students just increases the total funding shortfall. What University is going to take on more students if they can't fund their teaching?"