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Students to benefit with more staff for Australia's university students.



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Media Release

STUDENTS TO BENEFIT WITH MORE STAFF FOR AUSTRALIA’S UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

12 July, 2005 MIN 1152/05

Staff to student ratios at Australia’s universities have fallen as additional funding and places begin to flow into the sector as part of the Howard Government’s $11 billion higher education reform package.

I welcome today’s announcement from the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee (AVCC) that the trend of increasing student to staff ratios in Australia’s universities has been reversed.

The AVCC has revealed that the average staff to student ratio in Australia’s universities has decreased from 19.7 students to each member of staff to 19.4 in 2004.

Today’s data closely follows recent figures released by the AVCC which showed a 45% drop in unmet demand for university places while the number of Australian students attending university continues to grow to 716,422 in 2004 - an increase of more than 130,000 since 1996.

As a consequence of the Government’s reforms, which provide for additional public investment and HECS revenues, universities have also employed more staff - with the AVCC pointing out that the fall in the student to staff ratio can be attributed to the growth in teaching staff numbers - 30,935 in 2003 to 31,689 in 2004.

Improving the learning experience for students is an important goal of the Government’s reforms. Australian universities that demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning will be rewarded with their share of an additional $250 million available through the Learning and Teaching Performance Fund.

Over the next four years, the Howard Government will provide over 39,000 new Commonwealth supported student places with 25,000 overenrolled places to be fully funded.

One of the reasons that students are packed in like sardines in university lecture theatres is that in many cases the students were overenrolled by universities.

This brings the total number of fully-funded Commonwealth supported places this year to over 409,000 - supporting up to 525,000 students - an increase of around 12,000 fully-funded places compared to last year.

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Yaron Finkelstein 0414 927 663