CQUni vice-chancellor says reform could benefit Bundaberg
IN THE eyes of CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Nick Klomp, regional communities like Bundaberg stand to benefit, on balance from the recent Federal Government’s higher education reform package announcement.
Prof Klomp said the reduced cost of some courses would remove barriers to university study for many regional Australians.
“Evidence shows that when people go to university in regions like Bundaberg, they’re more likely to stay in the regions after they graduate and become part of the regional workforce,” he said.
“It’s vital to the future of the regions that we – universities and government – do whatever we can to encourage regional students to study regionally.”
Prof Klomp said the announcement was a “step in the right direction”.
“Reducing the cost of studying teaching, nursing, agriculture, health and engineering will make these courses more attractive to students from all walks of life, particularly people from the regions,” he said.
“Hopefully, the alignment of these fee incentives to in-demand occupations will also improve job prospects for regional graduates.”
Professor Klomp said it was great to see the federal government implementing the recommendations of the 2019 Napthine Review into regional, rural and remote education.
“While we still need to examine the full details of the package, there are encouraging signs that many new students from regional areas will be better off from next year,” he said.
“The establishment of a Regional Education Commissioner to oversee the government’s regional education strategy was one of the key recommendations of the Napthine review, and I welcome the announcement of this role.
“I’m also very keen to take a closer look at the expansion of regional university places, the $500m fund to support Indigenous, regional and low SES students to graduate, and the $48.4m research grants program for regional universities to partner with industry, all announced today.
“Equally, the $5,000 Tertiary Access Payment, to support outer regional and remote students to relocate for study, looks promising and many of our students could benefit from that.
“CQUniversity stands ready for further discussions with government about how to implement the reform package for the benefit of regional communities.”
Prof Klomp acknowledged that while some degrees may cost more in the future, people should still follow their passions and their career goals when applying to university.
“Australia has one of the best tertiary education systems in the world, and that includes the ability for most domestic undergraduate students to defer their fees until they are earning higher salaries,” he said.
“If you’re truly passionate about something – whether that’s a career in law, business, science, carpentry or the creative arts – my advice is to follow that passion, as it’s most likely to result in future career success.
“There are other ways to ease the cost of study, whether that’s studying part-time while working, accessing government support, or taking advantage of one of the $3m worth of scholarships CQU offers each year.”
Prof Klomp said current students would have their fees grandfathered under the scheme, which means they won’t pay any more to study as a result of the announcement.