Uni supports students' concerns
Wednesday, 1 October 2003
The University of Adelaide today echoed concerns by its Students' Association that South Australia is set to lose a high number of government-subsidised HECS places under the Federal Government's proposed higher education legislation.
"We are making a submission to the Senate today because of our concerns that access in South Australia may be reduced. This legislation needs to be re-visited in its current form," the University of Adelaide's Vice-Chancellor, Professor James McWha, says.
"We need not just to maintain the current level of access for South Australians to a University of Adelaide education, but also to improve the opportunities.
"We offer a high-quality education that is informed by cutting-edge research, and we believe the government has a responsibility to ensure that all Australians with demonstrated ability will be able to gain access to it."
If successful, the new legislation will force universities to remove over-enrolments with severe penalties threatened if they are over five per cent. In 2002, the University was 9.8 per cent in excess of its quota.
The University shares its concern on this issue with the University of Adelaide Students' Association, says the President of the Association, Ms Sarah Hanson-Young.
"We are hopeful that when we both appear before the Senate Inquiry today, we will be able to stress the potential disadvantages the reforms will cause South Australian students," she says.
"We have close to 1100 over-enrolled places that are at risk. Other SA universities face similar problems. Less HECS places means higher entrance scores for South Australian students. It is unlikely that the new fully funded places would flow to South Australian universities. South Australian students will suffer harshly at the hands of this government," she says.
Ms Carmel Noon, General Manager of the Adelaide University Union, says the loss of places equates to a reduction of student services to the tune of $300,000.
"This will potentially disadvantage the basic welfare service that the AUU provides to students," she says.
The Vice-Chancellor says the University of Adelaide will present its case in the strongest way possible.
"We are committed to our students, and a major objective is to provide the best opportunities possible," Professor McWha says.
"We urge the Senate to ensure there are guarantees that the new funded places will be allocated in such a way as to ensure South Australia has enough to counterbalance those places we have to remove."
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Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
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