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Increased access to university in the Northern Territory.



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DR BRENDAN NELSON Australian Government Minister for Education, Science and Training

Media Release

INCREASED ACCESS TO UNIVERSITY IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

EMBARGOED UNTIL 1.00PM, 27 JANUARY 2004

27 January 2004 MIN 592c/04

An extra 547 fully-funded university places for Northern Territory by 2008 will provide more students with access to university.

In 2005, there will be 200 new places which will grow to 547 as students continue in their courses.

These places are available thanks to the Government’s $2.6 billion higher education reform package, Our Universities: Backing Australia’s Future. More than 34,000 new university places will be provided by 2008, including in areas such as medicine, teaching and nursing.

Following consideration of submissions from State and Territory governments, universities and other interested organisations I have finalised the following distribution of places across jurisdictions.

With institutions able to enrol places up to 5% above their agreed number, these additional places will ensure each state receives an overall net gain.

NSW/ACT QLD WA VIC SA TAS NT AUST

By 2008

In 2005

9002

3292

6297

2303

4214

1541

2349

859

1471

538

1003

367

547

200

24883

9100

36.2% 25.3% 17% 9.4% 5.9% 4% 2.2% 100%

The States and Territories were invited to help develop a model for distributing the places. There was no consensus across the States and Territories on the model to be used. Western Australia, for example, announced it was seeking 27% of the new places. The Victorian Government strongly disagrees with WA. Its proposed distribution would have delivered 6% of places to Western Australia.

The States and Territories each proposed models favouring different indicators including unmet demand, tertiary entrance scores, school retention and workforce demand.

Of paramount importance to the Australian Government in determining the final model was the issue of fairness.

Presently students in different states with the same entrance scores do not have an equal chance of getting into a course. This must change.

It is not acceptable that a student applying for nursing in Darwin needed a score of around 59 while if they moved to Melbourne they would have required a score of 44.2.

Lowest cut-off required to gain a place at university, 2002

Nursing Engineering

NSW/ACT 60 61

WA 68.5 68.5

VIC 44.2 51.3

QLD 52.5 52.5

SA 63.2 61.4

TAS 65 72.5

NT 59 59

Source: The Good Universities Guide, 2003

The final distribution model is based principally on participation and population growth with some recognition for regional development.

Further consultations will now be held to inform distribution of places between universities within each jurisdiction.

Universities and students will also be benefiting from other elements of the reform package as they begin to flow through over the next five years:

• $838 million in additional base funding; • $146 million to support regional campuses; • $160 million to support the practical component of teaching and nursing programmes; • $327 million in scholarships to assist students with their education and

accommodation costs; • $325 million to support teaching and learning in universities, including a new National Institute; • two new loan schemes to assist those students who choose to pay the full

cost of their education, and those wanting to spend a semester or two studying overseas; • more than $100 million to support a range of equity initiatives, including funding for indigenous students, students with disabilities and those from

disadvantaged backgrounds; • $83 million to support workplace productivity in universities; and • $36 million to support collaboration and structural reform.

In addition in July this year around 185,000 Australians will immediately benefit from a reduction in their HECS repayments when the repayment threshold for HECS increases to $35,000 from $24,365.

Media Contact: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095