QUALITY AND GROWTH: Professor Andy Bridges from CQUniversity.
QUALITY AND GROWTH: Professor Andy Bridges from CQUniversity. Mike Knott BUN220916CQU5

Latest uni report doesn't tell full story

A NEW report showing 42.5% of CQUniversity students completing their studies within six years doesn't present the full picture, says the institution's vice-chancellor.

The Federal Government data released this week came as prospective students across the region ponder their future.

Completion rates from 2009-2014 range from 36.9% to 88%.

Institutions in rural and regional Queensland struggled the most to retain students, and accounted for seven of the 10 lowest-ranked universities.

Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham said he encouraged the thousands of prospective uni students receiving offers to "make the right choice, first time” about which universities and courses would help them pursue their dreams.

"Around one in three Australian uni students don't complete their studies within six years and a key way to boost those numbers is for students to know exactly what they're signing up for,” Senator Birmingham said.

While not dismissing the stats, CQUniversity vice-chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said it was easy to oversimplify the data and students' circumstances needed to be considered.

"One reason is we know a proportion of our students come to us with the intention to drop out,” he said.

"These are students who want to study further say in Brisbane and one of the pathways into those universities is to come to us for a year and they can improve their entry grade.”

The report showed that the type of attendance had an impact on student completion.

Prof Bowman said CQUniversity also recruited "high-risk” groups such as students working full-time, studying online and from low-socio-economic backgrounds.

"A lot of our students work full-time and study for longer than six years,” he said.

"Because of all these things, I think we are always going to be at the low end because of completions.”

Prof Bowman said CQUniversity was not being complacent about the issue and had worked hard to improve its completion rates.

"But that won't be reflected until a few years time.”



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