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National opinion poll on government’s higher education policy

In July 2015 The Australia Institute conducted a national opinion poll of 1408 people through Research Now. Respondents were selected to produce a representative sample based on gender, age and state.The survey asked about the government’s higher education policy and about opinions on Australia’s universities. The poll focused on opinions of universities and funding arrangements.

Key Results:

  • There was strong opposition to the Abbott Government’s proposed university funding policies.
  • On the 20% funding cuts 49% of people strongly oppose it, with an additional 21% somewhat opposing it
  • On deregulation, 44% strongly oppose it and 23% somewhat oppose it
  • Would deregulation improve the student experience? Only 17% said deregulation yes
  • 40% said it would make no difference
  • 42% said it would make educational experience worse
  • Who should more pay for university? 63% say governments should pay more
  • 23% say students should pay more
  • Who should pay less? 40% say students should pay less
  • 8% say universities should pay less
  • Equity of access for all Australians was slightly lower, but still substantial (53%)
  • Universities scored lowest on leadership in public debates (42%, compared to 43% poorly)
  • There were majority positive opinions on university performance including: R & D (74% said our unis performed well), preparing students for high skilled jobs (71%) and promoting critical thinking (62%)
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