CQU VC glad to hear Turnbull scrap education reform

DESPITE lending his support for the deregulation of university fees, CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman was yesterday glad to hear the government has seemingly scrapped the idea.

But now he's more concerned about what they may introduce in its place.

"If this system continues to expand, it'll get more and more expensive for the government," he said.

"I'm worried they'll say 'we can't afford all this higher education, so what we're going to do is cap the number of people going to university'."

Before changes from the former Labor government, universities could only accept a certain number of students, and Professor Bowman (pictured) said lifting this enrolment cap allowed CQUniversity to expand and improve.

"The reason why I supported fee deregulation is it would have ensured we never got the caps put back on," he said.

Yesterday the new Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham announced he would not reintroduce the controversial higher education bill this year.

The bill would have cut course funding by 20% and allowed universities to set their own fees.

Many in the university sector were concerned this deregulation would lead to massive fee increases, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten travelling to Rockhampton last November to warn it would affect regional areas the most.

Prof Bowman said in order for regional universities like CQU to increase their enrolments and catch up to metropolitan universities they needed to expand, which they couldn't do with a cap.

"The problem is, how do we fund education going forward?" he asked.

"Deregulation was one way, probably not the best way, but I am worried with this announcement we'll see a cap introduced."

Mr Birmingham's announcement means any changes won't come until 2017 at the earliest.

The Morning Bulletin visited CQUniversity yesterday to get students' thoughts, but most were unfamiliar with the background of the deregulation push.