UNIVERSITY of Southern Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas has welcomed what she described as a solid budget for higher education in a particularly stringent economic environment.
USQ stands to benefit from an additional $23.4 million being allocated to support people from disadvantaged or low socioeconomic backgrounds make the transition to university, which Professor Thomas said was vital to help those students succeed in their studies.
"The students who are providing the basis for sector growth come from this very demographic,'' Professor Thomas said.
"They represent a dazzling diversity of people who not long ago would not have considered a university education and who typically are in some way or ways underprepared for the experience.'\
"Extra funding to prepare and nurture these students through their university experience is invaluable.''
However, Professor Thomas cautioned that meeting the needs of students from a low socioeconomic background was not cheap, requiring time and resources and continual innovation.
While USQ was disappointed that the discount to study maths and science degrees had been scrapped, Professor Thomas welcomed the move to spend $54 million over four years on programs aimed at boosting the number of students studying those subjects at school.
'The funding will also go towards boosting the number of maths and science teachers being trained, which will help address the ever-increasing need to lift the proportion of Australians educated in science, maths and engineering.'
Overall, Professor Thomas said she was reassured the Federal Government had supported higher education, particularly when the sector was dealing with a decrease in the number of international students.
In a further win for universities, $7.6 million was also allocated over four years for students studying early childhood.