Professor Peter Lee Vice Chancellor of SCU.
Professor Peter Lee Vice Chancellor of SCU. Jay Cronan

Vice chancellor slams plan to slash university funding

THE Southern Cross University vice chancellor has slammed the federal government's plan to slash funding to universities by $900 million calling it short-sighted.

Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said the cuts ran contrary to government goals to increase university participation.

"Taking away $900 million in university funding over 2014 and 2015 will impact universities everywhere. Changes such as the conversion of student start-up scholarships into a loan will hit the very students the government professes it wants to encourage to go to university," Professor Lee said.

The cuts will help finance the government's $14.5 billion plan to fund schools; a plan which the government hopes will form the centrepiece of its re-election campaign.

The vice chancellor said Australia was already behind other comparable countries in the number of people with university qualifications, the cuts would strike a blow at the effort to increase participation.

"The logic of increasing funding to schools - provided the states actually agree to contribute - but then reducing the ability of universities to take the students who benefit from the investment in school funding is baffling."

Australia sits 25th out of 29 advanced economies for public investment in universities as a percentage of GDP and regional Australia lags further behind capital cities in educational attainment, Prof Lee said.



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