Government funding changes harmful to regional universitiesPosted: Friday 22 December 2017
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Bartlett, has warned of the damaging impact the Federal Government’s proposed freeze on the Commonwealth Grant Scheme will have on regional Universities like Federation University Australia.
Professor Bartlett says the proposed changes will disadvantage regional Australian universities, with limited opportunity to grow domestic enrolments over the next two years.
“Many regional Universities, including FedUni, have invested with good faith and the Government’s blessing in new campuses and facilities to grow and attract more students.
“The introduction of these budgetary measures will place serious impediments on our potential to do this,” she said.
Professor Bartlett cited FedUni’s new Berwick Campus which the University takes full control of from Monash in 2018.
“These restrictions mean our Berwick Campus will be held back in meeting the needs of its growing community and the regional impact of that will be significant,” she said.
Professor Bartlett said regional students would lose out, with proposed restrictions on HECS, HELP and VET student loans curtailing students’ opportunities to pursue tertiary education.
She believes the government must acknowledge the challenges facing regional Universities and alter its proposed formula accordingly.
"The limited student increases from 2020 based on population growth will disadvantage FedUni, along with other regional universities, because of smaller markets,” Professor Bartlett said.
“Attrition and completion rates continue to be a challenge for regional Universities because of our regionality, and should be factored into any performance metrics in the future.”
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