In 2012, Australia removed student number controls or, in the local terminology, introduced a ‘demand driven system’ based on student choice. In 2015, England followed suit. In both places, entry to higher education was opened up but non-completion rates rose.
In Australia, the demand driven system ended in 2017, despite a coming demographic bulge. England remains at an earlier point in the policy cycle, but there are growing fears that student number controls could also be on the way back despite the coming increase in school leavers.
This paper looks closely at the debate in Australia to find general lessons arising from the current drift towards greater political control over how many people make it to higher education.