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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1188

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

(1)   How many students were admitted this year at each of the universities in Australia to the Faculties of (a) Medicine, (b) Dentistry, (c) Veterinary Science, and (d) Law.

(2)   Of those students admitted in each of the faculties referred to how many were (a) Commonwealthassisted Asian students, and (b) private Asian students.

(3)   How many applicants were unable to gain admission to the Faculties of (a) Medicine, (b) Dentistry, (c) Veterinary Science, and (d) Law.

*See also page 127

(4)   Of those who were unable to gain admission, how many were (a) Australian students, (b) Commonwealth-assisted Asian students, and (c) private Asian students.

Senator WRIGHT-The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The information required to answer the honourable senator's question has been supplied by the universities.

(1)   The number of students enrolled in the first year of the faculties of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Law in Australian universities in 1972 were -


(2)   First year Asian student enrolments into each of the four faculties referred to were as follows:


(3)   For a number of reasons it is not possible to provide reliable figures for the number of qualified applicants who were unable to gain admission to each of the 4 faculties in question. Universities in the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide have in recent years established common admission centres in their respective areas and prospective students make a single application listing orders of preference for various faculties within each of the universities in the city concerned. Thus, a student whose first preference was medicine at one university and second preference was medicine at another university may have been accepted by the latter university. The statistics of the admission centre would show him as not having been accepted for the faculty of his first choice whereas in fact he would have gained admission to the discipline of his first choice at the university of his second choice. The problem is further complicated by the fact that some students also make applications to universities in other States. Thus a student who was recorded by one State as not having been accepted by any university within that State for the discipline of his first choice may have been accepted for that discipline by a university in another State. It follows that any figure that might be given will unavoidably include duplications.

There are other reasons why figures purporting to indicate numbers of applicants who were unable to gain admission into specific faculties can be misleading. After the submission of applications for admission to universities there are always some applicants who decide to enrol in colleges of advanced education or other postsecondary institutions, some who decide to return to school in the hope of gaining a scholarship in the following year and others who, for one reason or another, decide not to proceed with university education. Indeed, a significant proportion of applicants who are actually offered places do not in fact take up those offers. This year the proportions in Sydney and Melbourne were 30 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively. The proportion would almost certainly have been greater had the numbers offered places been higher.

Subject to the above qualifications and reservations,I would advise the honourable senator that the aggregate of the numbers of qualified applicants who nominated any one of the 4 faculties in question as their first preference and who were recorded by the admissions centre us not having been offered a place in response to their application of first preference at a particular university were as follows -


However, it is likely that many of these applicants would have been admitted to the discipline of their first choice by a university other than the university of their first choice or, failing that, have been admitted into another faculty of a university in their own city. Finally, I should again emphasise that inferences cannot validly be drawn about shortages of places in the 4 faculties from the magnitude of the above figures.

(4)   The information required to answer this part of the honourable senator's question is not separately recorded and is therefore not available.

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