The Regional Universities Network (RUN) welcomes the release of the Federal Government’s performance-based funding for universities, and the invitation from the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, to comment on the measures.
The Chair of RUN, Professor Helen Bartlett, said that RUN recognises that relevant measures for university performance have been chosen, and that the expert panel had taken ideas from RUN’s submission into account.
“While graduate employment outcomes, student success, student experience, and participation of Indigenous, low socio-economic status, and regional and remote students are all relevant, it is important that there are no unintended consequences for regional universities arising from the use of the student success measure,” Professor Bartlett said.
“Many of the students who attend RUN’s universities are first-in-family to higher education, low SES, Indigenous, mature age, part-time and/or study online.
“They may not have been well-prepared at school for university, and have financial or other pressures on them which impact on their ability to succeed with their studies.
“Our universities make every effort to support students to succeed, and we are constantly working on improving our strategies, but our higher education attainment rates are lower than those of universities whose student population is dominated by people from high or middle SES backgrounds.
“Although the student success measure has been contextualised, we need to examine the methodology further to determine the impact on our universities.
“Regional universities need to grow student numbers to address the significant gap in higher education attainment which exists between regional, rural and remote Australia and major cities,” Professor Bartlett said.
“Performance funding alone will not be adequate to address this, and we look forward to further working with the Minister to ensure that we have the ability to grow enough student places at our campuses.”