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Uncapping of university places achieved what it set out to do. So why is it dubbed a policy failure?

Andrew Harvey writes in The Conversation (17.6.16) about the debates currently swirling around the proposed reforms of university entrance numbers and tertiary fee charging, with the prestigious Group of Eight universities seemingly setting themselves against the nation’s smaller institutions.

‘Allowing universities to recruit as many students as they wish is unsustainable and does not improve equity, the Group of Eight (Go8), which represents Australia’s elite universities, has stated in its latest paper.

‘The Go8 calls for “moderation” of the demand-driven system established in 2009, arguing that it ignores the importance of sub-degree and postgraduate places. This year alone, commentators on the right and vice-chancellors on the left have highlighted the apparent failures of the demand-driven system.

‘Quality, equity and sustainability are the usual victims mentioned. Suggested reforms include recapping places, uncapping fees and redirecting the subsequent money to research or equity.

‘Yet are these simply solutions looking for a problem?’

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