The federal government has confirmed funding for student places at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s proposed Petrie Campus. In January USC VC Greg Hill told CMM he feared that the plan could be undone by the federal government’s two year freeze on undergraduate places. However, government MPs with effected electorates Peter Dutton and Luke Howarth have announced $69m in federal funding will mean the campus will be able to enrol students when it opens in 2020. Yesterday Education Minister Simon Birmingham added, “the Turnbull Government delivers on its election commitments.”
This is an early indication of a way growth places may be allocated when the freeze on student numbers lifts. In announcing the end of demand driven funding in December’s MYEFO Senator Birmingham said future growth in funding student numbers for universities would be based on their meeting as yet unset targets which could include student experience, attrition, completion rates and graduate outcomes.” And now, it seems, election promises.
Last month Professor Hill told CMM (January 18) that he wondered how growth places would be allocated. “We could be going back to the days of compacts and special deals, I am not looking forward to returning,” he said. In the case of Petrie he was way-too pessimistic.