$3 billion lost as Pyne changes uni reforms

DESPITE losing more than $3 billion in government savings to appease the Senate crossbench on the higher education reforms, Education Minister Christopher Pyne's changes still fall short of what universities want.

After Mr Pyne's first bill was defeated narrowly in the Senate on Tuesday, he repackaged the measures and made a series of concessions for the crossbenchers.

While the original bill was meant to save Canberra's coffers $3.9 billion over the next four years, the new bill would save just over $400 million in the same period.

Mr Pyne also offered a $100 million adjustment package for some universities to move to the deregulated fee market, despite sector demands for the package to be $500 million.

But the 20% cuts to government contributions to student fees, likely to be borne by students themselves under a deregulated market, remained.

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said despite other changes it was still "difficult to win the support of the university sector or the crossbench".

Mr Pyne said he believed that with "time and persuasion" the new bill would get through the Senate block, when it is debated in February.


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