Statement by Professor Penny Boumelha, Acting Vice-Chancellor, The University of Adelaide -- in response to the allocation of new Higher Education places for 2005.

Tuesday, 27 January 2004

The University of Adelaide is disappointed with the number of additional Government-funded places allocated to SA between 2005 and 2008, which was announced today by Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training.

The Minister claims that the new places have been allocated on the basis of "fairness". We do not believe that places have been distributed fairly and equitably, or that the allocation truly represents the situation in this state.

The demand to study at South Australian universities has increased steadily over the past four years with a 12.5 per cent growth for the State, and a 32 per cent rise for the University of Adelaide over the same period.

Figures from the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC) show that the growth in unmet demand in South Australia in 2002-3 was the highest in the country.

Last year, South Australian universities provided additional, marginally-funded places for 2009 students who wanted to study, who were all eligible for tertiary study, but for whom there were no fully-funded Commonwealth places.

The figures released today show that the Commonwealth Government does not think future South Australian students deserve the same opportunity.

The University of Adelaide has already reduced its Commonwealth-funded intake this year by 5.4 per cent. This, in an environment of sustained growth in demand, has resulted in increased cut off scores in the majority of our programs. It will now be tougher for South Australians to study at this University.

Today's figures show that students wanting to study nursing or engineering will find it more difficult to gain entry to a South Australian university than to one in NSW. Yet, NSW received the highest increase in places, while SA was among the lowest.

The Vice-Chancellor of this University, Professor James McWha, has for some time now been calling for an increase to the number of fully- funded student places available in South Australian universities.

It is abundantly clear now that the Commonwealth Government is not committed to the educational needs of South Australians.


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