More Australian students are being burdened with a HECS debt but never achieve a degree according to newly released data on higher education attrition rates.
With attrition rates now hitting 31 per cent at some universities, it is clear that Christopher Pyne has taken his eye off the ball and Australian students are paying the price.
The Liberals have been so distracted by their ideological pursuit of deregulation and $100,000 degrees that they have completely ignored their responsibility to look to the future and meet the challenges facing our higher education system.
High drop-out rates are costly for individuals and wasteful of human talent, not to mention public funding.
The spike in drop-outs recorded in the latest data release by the Department of Education and Training at some universities is very concerning.
In Victoria the adjusted attrition rate increased from 11.89 to 14.03 per cent in just one year.
Yet the Abbott Government has been silent on this issue.
Labor has consistently said that universities cannot be content with just getting first-years signed up – they have a responsibility to support all students to complete their degrees.
Quality and completion must define our education system.
Regardless of whether it is on-campus or online, Labor wants to see more Australia students graduating and getting good jobs.
Labor believes the Commonwealth has the responsibility to ensure that when you leave university after three, four or five years, you are equipped with the confidence, the skills and the knowledge to engage with the economy of the 21st century.