First year nursing student Jacinta Di Palma is concerned CQU's loss of some federal funding could affect her studies.
First year nursing student Jacinta Di Palma is concerned CQU's loss of some federal funding could affect her studies.

$5m pulled out of CQU

By GREG CHAPMAN and PATRICIA COATS

JACINTA Di Palma is worried Central Queensland University's loss of $5 million in federal funding could jeopardise her future in nursing.

CQU confirmed yesterday a drop in the number of its students last year has cost it $5 million, but it refuted the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) claims student quality would be the first to suffer.

Ms Di Palma, who achieved an OP five, chose CQU's Bundaberg campus to be close to family and friends, so predictions of staff reductions and course changes unsettled her.

"(With the OP) I could pretty much go anywhere but I heard that CQU had updated their nursing course,'' Ms Di Palma said.

She found out she was accepted into the Bachelor of Nursing yesterday morning - the same day CQU's budget was slashed by up to 3%.

NTEU state secretary Howard Guille said the union became aware of CQU's under-enrolment issues last year.

"But what this means is that their funding is reduced for 2006 because they were under about 500 students last year,'' Mr Guille said.

Mr Guille said students could see fewer tutors and have less resources in lecture theatres and they could face having to go to Rockhampton to complete third year courses.

Ms Di Palma said she did not like the idea of relocating.

CQU Vice-Chancellor John Rickard said CQU had more places than it needed, so it returned them to the federal government.

"I don't think this will per se have any impact on staffing numbers at the university, but if (the decline in student numbers) were to continue it might be a different issue,'' Mr Rickard said.

CQU Bundaberg's Head of Campus Alex Grady remains on leave due to bullying allegations against other staff and Mr Rickard said he would address the issue next week.



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