Southern Cross spreads wings

By ZOE SATHERLEY

DOWN a bit at Lismore, up a lot at Tweed and Coffs Harbour.

The latest enrolment statistics at Southern Cross University are pleasing overall, says ViceChancellor Professor Paul Clark.

The Coffs campus has enjoyed a massive 47 per cent jump in the number of first preference applications for study in 2005.

This figure bucks the nationwide trend of a 3.6 per cent decrease.

At the Tweed campus the rise has been 27 per cent.

Applications to study at Lismore have dropped by just under 1 per cent, Prof Clark said.

"That represents only about 30 students. It's almost no change at all," he said.

"The figures reflect a conscious strategy we have had to increase enrolments at the Tweed and Coffs campuses.

"Prospective students already know about Lismore, but not many are aware of our other two campuses, so we wanted to grow them more by offering extra courses and a greater range of options."

Prof Clark said a range of factors was responsible for the national drop in the number of students seeking to enrol in university education.

He said there was a perceived notion that a university education would lead to a huge HECS debt.

"This is not the case. There have been grossly over-inflated statements about the cost of a degree," he said.

"An average degree would lead to a HECS debt of less than $20,000."

Another factor was high school students taking a break from study before pursuing a university education.

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