La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the move would be a step change for regional Australians, who are currently only half as likely to obtain a university degree compared to their metropolitan residents.
“We are heartened by Labor’s promise to increase opportunities for regional students,” Professor Dewar said.
“The demand-driven system was designed to increase participation and absorb unmet demand for higher education. Its potential has not yet been fully realised - particularly in regional Australia.”
Professor Dewar said La Trobe was one of the leading higher education providers in regional Victoria, with four campuses outside of metropolitan Melbourne in Albury/Wodonga, Bendigo, Mildura and Shepparton.
“As feared, the funding cuts announced in MYEFO 2017-18 are having a disproportionate impact on regional University campuses, which are more reliant on government support and have limited access to other sources of funding,” Professor Dewar said.
“Even worse, these cuts are curtailing our ability to continue to deliver the skills that regional employers and communities require, creating serious potential longer-term ramifications for our economic development.
“La Trobe also welcomes Labor’s commitment to scrap upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students. We have a long history of partnering with VET sector providers and have established a sector-leading degree-diploma model on all of our regional campuses that has driven unprecedented regional growth in pathway students while also strengthening local TAFEs.
“Restoring the demand-driven system will re-open the doors to study for regional and remote Australians and embolden universities to make the investments required to sustain their regional delivery.”
Key Facts: La Trobe University in regional Victoria
- Since 2006, 14,508 people have graduated from La Trobe regional campuses.
- 70 per cent of our regional graduates are female. 50 per cent of our regional graduates are the first person in their family to attend university.
- Most regional La Trobe graduate jobs are in health, education, and business and commerce.
- 1455 people graduated from our regional campuses in 2015. Many (946 Full Time Equivalent) went on to work in regional Victoria.
- Every graduate who goes on to work in regional Victoria annually increases Victoria’s GRP by $104,705.
- In 2015 alone, new graduates directly boosted Victoria’s Gross Regional Product by $99 million.
- The unemployment rate for regional graduates is 5.7 per cent. The national unemployment rate (people aged 20-24) was 8.2 per cent and the regional unemployment rate (people paged 15-24) was 9.8 per cent.