Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Jane den Hollander today welcomed the report into the Demand Driven Funding System, while cautioning that any changes must continue to protect the reputation of Australian universities here and overseas, where they actively compete against other jurisdictions, most particularly the United Kingdom and America.
Professor den Hollander said the Kemp-Norton Review was a strong endorsement of the success of the national public university sector.
"Australians who now wish to participate in higher education can do so, and that's a great step forward," Professor den Hollander said.
"Many more students from disadvantaged backgrounds – often first generation, often working class families – now have access to higher education in Australia and they are beginning to achieve at levels once not thought possible.
"The increase in enrolments under the demand driven system indicates that regional Australians, outer metro Australians and migrant Australians have all voted with their feet. This is a commendable achievement and one we should hold on to and celebrate.
"We agree the system could be an even stronger driver of higher education innovation and diversity, but it is important that any move to a more open market does not create an uneven playing field.
"Australian universities are statutory authorities with very different and often stringent reporting and governance obligations.
"If private providers are to enter the public system, they will need to be subject to the same hurdles, tests and standards that have enabled Australian universities to build an international reputation for the highest possible educational standards and quality. We compete against the very best in the world for students based on our reputation – let's not compromise that hard won position.
"It is imperative that any changes to the system both protect Brand Australia and enable the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to enforce the necessary standards and preserve the integrity of the higher education system.
"Australia needs a smart and well-educated population and Deakin University looks forward to working with the Federal Government and the broader sector to deliver the accessible opportunities that will help achieve that. Our universities are an important investment in our future."