Unified approach to bonus points for all three South Australian universities

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia have today announced two new joint bonus points schemes for students studying in 2015 and applying for entry in 2016 which will replace all existing bonus schemes operated by the universities.

The first of these, the SA Universities Equity Scheme, to be administered centrally by the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC), will allocate five bonus points to students identified using national measures of educational and/or socio-economic disadvantage and remoteness.

SATAC Chair and University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Warren Bebbingtom, said the new scheme reflected a strong sense of cooperation and vision on behalf of the three universities to improve the process for all applicants.

"Our collective aim from the outset was to improve the bonus point system for students, parents and teachers. We wanted to develop new schemes based on principles of simplicity and uniformity across the universities. Most importantly, we wanted an equity scheme to embody the original purpose of redressing socio-economic disadvantage," said Professor Bebbington.

South Australia's universities have been operating bonus schemes driven by a number of educational and equity goals for 25 years, starting with the Fairway Scheme.

"Over time, the various schemes have evolved to a point where, in some ways, they had started to lose sight of their original intentions," said Professor Bebbington.

"We were seeing students choose courses based on how many different bonus points they could attract rather than focusing on what was the best higher education option for their future," he said. "Different universities offered different points for the same criteria resulting in inequities across the system. South Australia is the first state where the universities have taken pause to reflect on where we had come to with bonus schemes, and to jointly redefine our future directions for the benefit of our students."

The second scheme, the SA Language, Literacy and Mathematics Bonus Points Scheme, will provide up to four bonus points to students undertaking a language other than English, or specified English and Mathematics subjects.

"South Australia will have one system for all students at all universities," said Professor Bebbington.

University of South Australia Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the move levelled the playing field for all future students.

"It provides simplicity and equity in equal measure and it ensures that the importance of subjects relevant to our future economy is to the fore," Professor Lloyd said. "The importance of the equity steps we have taken here cannot be overstated."

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, said that Flinders strongly supported the intention of a common uniform system of bonus points across the three South Australian universities.

"Students will benefit from the greater clarity and transparency", he said. "The bonus points allocated for certain language, English and Mathematics subjects underscore the importance of students developing numeracy and literacy skills for any career they may contemplate."

The universities and SATAC will commence a comprehensive rollout of information to schools during Term 1 2014. More information will be available in February 2014 at www.satac.edu.au.


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