Victoria University is a signatory to a joint statement to oppose proposed Federal Government cuts to the Commonwealth Grant Scheme that will negatively impact the universities that do the heaviest lifting in terms of social equity.
"Victoria University would be one of the hardest hit, given our reliance on teaching grants and the fact that we are currently operating with a deficit," Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins said.
The Commonwealth’s foreshadowed imposition of the 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend in each of 2018 and 2019 will result in a reduction of Victoria University’s revenue of $6.5m, necessitating a further $6.5m budget savings.
Any such government cuts would almost certainly require at least an additional 50 redundancies over the next eighteen months, on top of those that are resulting from the major restructuring and efficiency agenda already underway. Our current reforms aim to return us to a surplus while enhancing the student experience and increasing our focus on research excellence.
"I cannot see any way of doing these additional unplanned redundancies without reducing the quality of student services, or cutting research so much that it would significantly jeopardise the University’s reputation and its ability to undertake applied and translational research for industry and our local community," said Vice-Chancellor Dawkins.
That is not to mention the threat of a potentially larger reduction in budget that could result, down the track, from the challenge of meeting an as yet unspecified set of performance requirements.
It is to be hoped that the objections of Vice-Chancellors of universities doing such an important job for students from disadvantaged backgrounds will have an impact and that these cuts are prevented.
Last month Victoria University announced a number of ground-breaking initiatives aimed to return the university to a surplus and ensure an outstanding student experience, including:
A new First Year Model, a tertiary experience (and Australian first) that provides undergraduate students unprecedented support as they; immerse themselves in a single area, learn through deep discussion and close peer interaction; get to know and be known by their teachers; receive support from a multidimensional team; obtain regular, more immediate feedback; and develop a sense of early achievement.
The Victoria University Research School, which will oversee all of the university’s research and research training activities, including institutes and centres, along with a number of institutes that have built outstanding reputations for impact on policy and industry in Australia.
Victoria University Academy will provide tailored programs for high achieving and high potential undergraduate students who show strong leadership skills.
Victoria University, along with Western Sydney University, University of Canberra, Edith Cowan University, The University of Newcastle, Australian Catholic University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of New England and Charles Sturt University collectively urges the Government to reconsider the planned cuts to higher education.