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Tuesday, 6 March 1973
Page: 203

Mr OLDMEADOW (HOLT, VICTORIA) - What action has the Minister for Education taken to provide emergency grants for needy students at tertiary institutions? What are the sums of money involved? To what extent will this measure relieve the problem which exists at present?

Mr BEAZLEY (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Education) - Earlier in the year 1 received a letter from Professor Lazenby, the Vice-Chancellor of New England University. The V ice-Chancellor informed me that with the rise in fees in New South Wales universities of 16j per cent, in conjunction with a severe effect on family incomes in his region of New South Wales of the western New South Wales drought, a good many of his students were in considerable distress and he feared that some students would not be able to continue at the university. He indicated that he had made valiant efforts to help the students, and had raised a sum, which I recall was about $45,000, but that this would not be sufficient. I was not able to assure him that the Commonwealth Government would anticipate the decisions of next year and fully finance universities or, I should say, waive university fees, but I did indicate an interest in his problem of students who were in need.

As a result of further correspondence from the Vice-Chancellor I had discussions with Professor Williams, the chairman of ViceChancellors Committee, and then with the Australian Universities Commission and the Colleges of Advanced Education Commission. Submissions were then made to Cabinet which were approved and which will become the subject of amending legislation providing $3m for tertiary students, the amount to be divided between universities and colleges of advanced education. From memory the figures are $2,165,000 and $835,000 respectively. These sums of money are to be distributed among the vice-chancellors and the principals according to the enrolment of their universities or colleges. From the indications I have received the sum will be sufficient this year to meet the cases known to university officials or colleges of advanced education officials of students who are in need. I say that with one qualification, lt is easy enough for certain universities to tell me specifically the number of students who are leaving university because they cannot finance their continuing studies, although they have been successful. Those students can be recalled and assisted. However, it is not easy to know the number of students who matriculated but never applied because they had no resources. That is a serious problem. I believe that the $3m which will be appropriated and which I understand the universities and other institutions are already advancing will, in conjunction with their own resources, meet the emergency.

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