Uni defends enrolment growth
FEDERAL Government figures putting Southern Cross University at the bottom of a group of regional universities for enrolment growth are misleading, a spokeswoman for the university has said.
Statistics released by Federal Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans show the Lismore-based university's offers increased from 2543 positions in 2009 to 2607 positions this year, making an increase in offers of 2.5%.
The figures gave Southern Cross the lowest percentage increase of the six tertiary education institutions that make up the Regional Universities Network, made up of Southern Cross University, University of Southern Queensland, University of New England, University of the Sunshine Coast, University of Ballarat and Central Queensland University.
Southern Cross's 2.5% increase in offers compared with figures such as a whopping 38.7% at the University of Central Queensland, 34.6% on the Sunshine Coast, and a national average of 16.1%.
However, Southern Cross Uni- versity media officer Sharlene King said the figures only represented offers processed through the Tertiary Admissions Centre and did not give an accurate picture of overall admissions.
"Tertiary education centres offers for SCU are generally for on-campus study only," she said.
"The tertiary education centres are just one way to apply to study at SCU. We also accept applications direct to the university, for example; for distance education study. These applications are not captured in this data."
Ms King said Southern Cross University experienced the network's fastest growth rate for mixed study modes, which included distance education between 2009 and 2012.
Southern Cross University recently introduced new online applications and Ms King said they made it easier for people to enrol via the university's website.
The online applications led more people to bypass tertiary education centres which would have affected the data.
Students from more than 80 countries studied at SCU and a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses were offered, including arts and social sciences, education, environment and science, indigenous studies and performing arts, she said.
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