La Trobe welcomes state government funding announcement

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La Trobe logoPro Vice-Chancellor, Regional, Professor Hal Swerissen said that the University supports the overall package and is particularly pleased with the additional accommodation that has been proposed.

‘The investment in higher education provided by the $103.6 million Tertiary Education Opportunities package is most welcome,’ Professor Swerissen said.

‘The establishment this year of the La Trobe Rural Health School has seen an increase in demand from students for accommodation, so we are delighted that additional accommodation is included in the package.’

‘We are about to commence construction of additional student accommodation on our regional campuses to help meet that demand, including 80 beds in Bendigo, 24 beds in Wodonga, 20 beds in Shepparton and 10 beds each in Swan Hill and Echuca,’ Professor Swerissen said.

‘However, our aim is to increase our overall student numbers by 20% (900 students) to 5500 equivalent full time students by 2012 and this will require more accommodation in our regional campuses.

Professor Swerissen said that the funding also supports the aims and objectives set out in La Trobe University’s Regional Strategic Plan.

‘La Trobe University is already developing educational programs in partnership with regional communities to meet their social, economic, cultural and environmental needs.’

‘We are keen to further develop our collaboration with TAFE in the interests of our regional students and have clearly stated our aim to strengthen pathways to life-long learning through enabling programs, regional bonuses and enhanced relationships with local secondary and TAFE providers,’ Professor Swerissen said.

'The provision of cadetships is a good idea that offers an additional pathway to university,’ Professor Swerissen said.

'La Trobe University was founded on the belief in equity of access to university education by increasing the participation of rural and regional populations in higher education and we are committed to developing a flexible and integrated set of regional pathways to university education,’ Professor Swerissen said.

Professor Swerissen said a study commissioned by La Trobe University and completed by Compelling Economics in November 2009 found that the combined contribution of the University’s regional campuses to the community amounts to $282.7 million in total.

‘The Bendigo campus of La Trobe University and its students contribute $201.4 million per annum to Bendigo’s Gross Regional Product; Albury-Wodonga contributes $50.3 Million; Mildura contributes $18.5 Million and Shepparton $12.5 Million,’ said Professor Swerissen.

‘In addition, the University provides a total of 2939 jobs, with 2099 jobs in Bendigo; 515 jobs in Albury-Wodonga; 195 jobs in Mildura and 130 jobs in Shepparton.’

‘Each year students spend over $107 Million across the four regional La Trobe campuses; $76.3 Million in Bendigo; $18.0 Million in Albury-Wodonga; $6.8 Million in Mildura and $6.6 Million in Shepparton,’ said Professor Swerissen.

‘La Trobe University will continue to advocate for students in regional and rural communities.’

Professor Swerissen said the University would be very keen for a significant investment in regional higher education from the Commonwealth government and is looking forward to their response.