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University Fee De-regulation: Markets, Strategy and Pricing - Discussion and Simulation Forum

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In collaboration with
Pilbara Group   Grattan Institute    PwC

Understanding market dynamics, student demand and competitors as well as the cost of provision will be critical to developing institutional and pricing strategies in a deregulated higher education market.

The de-regulation of university fees from 2016 and changes to tuition subsidy rates and student HELP loans proposed in the May budget will see more direct competition on price and from non-university providers and an increased focus on value.

Universities are assessing the revenue impact of lower subsidies on institutional program profiles and enrolments and their capacity for internal cross subsidization of research, capital investment and other programs.  Students will seek information on options for courses and institutions and focus on value for money, fees, loan debts, employment and repayments.

Fee pricing policy will be a key element of longer-term institutional differentiation and strategy. Setting pricing strategy will involve considering institutional status and market power, domestic and international student demand and defining a clear value proposition for students.

This interactive forum focuses on understanding market positioning and the internal cost base of different disciplines and programs and the margins required to optimize cross subsidization and longer term sustainability.

Join sector experts in small workshops to formulate strategies and simulate scenarios using a detailed university predictive model.

The Pilbara Group predictive model is based on a synthesis of actual cost structures from eleven universities ranging from Go8 to a small regional institution into a generic ‘Australia University’ with actual business rules and cost/revenue ratios.

Benefit from insights into:

  • Scenarios and variables to inform fact-based decision-making applicable to specific market contexts for regional and outer/inner metropolitan institutions
  • The impact of new pricing and provision models
  • Key factors in a de-regulated market impacting on short-term tactics and longer term institutional and pricing strategies.

Download full program.

This program will be attended by:

Senior university executives with responsibility for:

•    Strategy
•    Student affairs
•    Planning
•    Finance
•    Marketing
•    Business analysis

Speakers and facilitators

  • Andrew Norton, Higher Education Program Director, Grattan Institute

Andrew Norton is the Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute, a position he has held since 2011. He is also an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne. Before joining Grattan, he was a higher education policy adviser to three University of Melbourne vice-chancellors between 2000 and 2011. In the late 1990s he was higher education adviser to the then Minister for Education, the Hon. Dr David Kemp.

Mr Norton is the author or co-author of many other articles, reports and other publications on higher education issues. These include a widely-used reference report on higher education trends and policies, Mapping Australian higher education, Graduate Winners on the public and private benefits of higher education, and Doubtful debt: the rising cost of student loans.

Professor Peter Noonan has played a major role in shaping policy in Australia’s tertiary education and training systems over the past two decades as a policy adviser, senior executive in and consultant to federal and state governments, universities, higher education providers, and TAFE institutes and in major reviews.

Peter is now Professor of Tertiary Education Policy in the Victoria Institute at Victoria University, a Fellow in the Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy at Victoria University and an Honorary Senior Fellow at the LH Martin Institute.

John Studley leads PwC’s Analytics practice and has a particular focus on price modelling in deregulated markets. He brings significant experience delivering evidence based insight to client challenges and major projects. John’s core capability is in the design and delivery of custom quantitative modelling and analytics. He helps entities to inform business and organisational decisions using a data lens to inform choices and understand the implications of possible future events. John has worked across a number of sectors on pricing models, including complex price and promotion effectiveness for a major general merchandising retailer including development of a pricing model, demand elasticity and price architecture within product categories.

Simon Mezger has broad experience in management consulting, private equity, treasury and operations. As part of multiple commercial due diligence engagements Simon has assessed cross price elasticity of products to assess relative attractiveness of investment into the given sector, and has conducted a pricing engagement and growth strategy for a global construction services firm. He has helped organisations to roll out improved pricing practices including ‘value based pricing techniques’ focusing on ‘willingness to pay’ and a move away from deep discounting. He is the author and developer of PwC’s Pricing Maturity matrix in both B2B and B2C settings.

  • Lea Patterson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pilbara Group

Lea Patterson heads up both the Australian and US operations of Pilbara Group and is responsible for overall strategic management locally and internationally. Lea has almost twenty years of cost modelling experience, starting with large-scale enterprise-wide models developed for the Australian Defence Force and then transferring this knowledge to the US Navy and US Coast Guard. More recently Lea’s experience extends to cost forecasts for operational as well as decommissioning models for Oil/Gas fields globally and for the last eight years the Pilbara Group specific models and methodologies for Universities.

Director at the LH Martin Institute, Professor Leo Goedegebuure is active in the field of higher education policy research and management. Prior to his move to Australia in 2005 (University of New England, Centre for Higher Education Management and Policy), Leo was Executive Director of the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), at the University of Twente, Netherlands, Europe’s largest research centre in this field.

Leo’s research interests are in the areas of governance and management, both at the systems and institutional level, system dynamics including large scale restructuring policies, university-industry relationships, and institutional mergers. Most of his work has a comparative focus, both within and outside of Europe, which has resulted in a strong international network.

For the past fourteen years Andrew has been actively involved in the implementation of costing systems for universities, defence and private sector organisations in Australia, New Zealand, United States and United Kingdom. Andrew has been instrumental in the development of the software and methodologies for Pilbara Group’s University Management Models. These include the historical management models for analysing the existing state of a university and the forecasting management models for long term planning and what-if scenarios. For the private sector Andrew has been extensively involved with Oil & Gas building long range models for operational cost forecasting and decommissioning cost estimates. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree and post graduate diploma (with honours) in applied computing.

Michelle is a senior member of the Pilbara Group team with over 25 years of experience in the military, public, and consulting sectors. Michelle coordinates and delivers the Higher Education consultancy services within Pilbara Group. Her current clients include the University of Sydney, Deakin University, Edith Cowan University, University of Western Sydney, James Cook University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Newcastle, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences (USA), University of Tasmania, RMIT University and Charles Sturt University. Michelle’s prior experience also include 6 years with Ernst & Young and KPMG and 11 years as a Supply and Logistics Officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Professor Vin Massaro has considerable experience in senior educational management and policy in universities and government, and as a consultant and adviser in Australia and internationally. He has also been Chairman and a member of several company boards, and is currently a member of the Board of Northern Health, one of the Victorian Metropolitan Health Regions.

Vin is a fellow at the LH Martin Institute as is currently Managing Director of Massaro Consulting, specialising in higher education and health workforce projects. He is also a Professorial Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education and the LH Martin Institute at the University of Melbourne, and in the Australian Health Workforce Institute, a joint Institute of the universities of Melbourne and Queensland. He is a Senior Associate of the Eidos Institute.

Date and Location

31 July 9:00 - 4:30pm
1 August 9:00-12:30pm
Park Hyatt, Melbourne

Program fee

AU $1,500 incl. GST


For enquiries or to register groups, please contact or call +61 3 8344 0756.


Click on 'Register and Pay by Credit Card' or 'Register and Pay by Invoice' or download and complete the registration form (pdf).


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