Second-rate rent seeking

The Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee may have changed its name to Universities Australia, but so far at least nothing else seems to have changed. Their recent media releases contain more of the second-rate rent-seeking that has long marred the organisation’s public advocacy.

Last week, in their tradition of ‘good first step’ reactions to government initiatives, they welcomed a small extension of student income support and issued a media release repeating their call for:

“Firstly all scholarships and bursaries (regardless of their source) to be excluded from assessable income for the purpose of student income support; and

“Secondly, a reduction in the age of independence for Youth Allowance from the current 25 years to 18 years over the next term of parliament,”

There is no mention (and nor was there when the proposal was first made in August) of how much these changes might cost, how important this proposal is compared to other higher education spending options (let alone other alternative uses of the money), or other implications of the changes.
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