Most Aussies support increase in higher education funding

THE higher education sector has launched a national campaign against funding cuts, including the release of a survey showing eight out of 10 Australians believe cuts could threaten the nation's future.

Universities Australia released the survey, showing 87% also support an increase in federal funding for the sector.

The survey comes after television advertisements began screening this week, putting public pressure on the government over $2.8 billion in recent funding cuts, with more expected in next week's budget.

It also said of the 800 respondents, 96% agreed universities were important for providing the skills and knowledge for tomorrow and 95% agreed higher education was an opportunity to improve young people's lives.

UA chief executive Belinda Robinson said the results that eight out of 10 people were concerned funding cuts threatened Australia's future "should not be lost on decision-makers".

She said if the cuts went ahead, the 2015 funding per student would be 15% below the level recommended by the Bradley Review of Australian higher education.

Ms Robinson said despite some positive reforms in recent years, the size of the cuts would challenge the ability of universities to maintain the high quality which attracts overseas students.