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Thousands miss out on university place.



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ROGER PRICE MP Federal Member for Chifley

MEDIA RELEASE

19th January 2004

THOUSANDS MISS OUT ON UNIVERSITY PLACE

Thousands of qualified students have missed out on a place at University in today’s first round offers because of the Howard Government’s refusal to adequately fund higher education, according to Federal Chifley MP, Roger Price.

More than 25,000 applicants in NSW and the ACT missed out on an offer - around 3,000 more than at the same time last year.

Mr. Price said too many students were being robbed of their educational opportunities because of Brendan Nelson’s miserly higher education package.

“There’s no question the state’s universities could have accepted more students this year, but the Howard Government has flatly refused to fund those additional places”, he said.

“This is an appalling waste of young talent and a real slap in the face to those students who worked hard to get the marks they thought they needed but still missed out”.

A combination of increased demand and fewer offers meant the University Admission Index (UAI) was higher in many courses than in previous years.

“The UAI required to get into teaching has risen by 10 points while the entry score for nursing has risen by 4.5”, Mr. Price said.

“These are professions were there is a major shortfall of skilled graduates and yet talented students are being turned away”.

Mr. Price said fewer offers were made this year because the Government has threatened to impose fines on any university which over-enrolled students.

“Institutions have been forced to over-enrol students in recent years to make up for a shortfall in Federal funding, but they’re now being threatened with fines unless they end the practise”.

“The end result is less places, more competition and more talented students missing out on a tertiary education”.

Mr. Price said the decision to reserve a third of all places for full fee-paying students had compounded the problem.

“Full fee-paying domestic places are robbing many talented students of a place at uni, while given rich students a second bite at the cherry”, he said.

Mr. Price congratulated the nearly 53,000 applicants who received a university offer, while reminding those who missed out that a small number of 2nd round offers will be made on February 2nd.

Labor will end the Howard era of lost opportunity by creating 20,000 extra university places, reversing the 25% fee hike and abolishing full fee-paying domestic places.

Ends Contact Darren Flynn on (02) 9625 4344 or 0417-416-144.