Professor Nick Klomp, Vice-Chancellor, Central Queensland University.
Professor Nick Klomp, Vice-Chancellor, Central Queensland University.

Uni reforms remove study barriers for Gladstone students

CENTRAL Queensland University has welcomed reforms to the sector, saying the changes are good news for Gladstone and the region's students.

The reforms will see cost variations in some degrees, with both price hikes and reductions, but CQU Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Klomp said the changes will remove barriers for Gladstone people to study.

"Evidence shows that when people go to university in regions like Gladstone, they're more likely to stay in the regions after they graduate and become part of the regional workforce," he said.

"It's vital to the future of the regions that we - universities and government - do whatever we can to encourage regional students to study regionally.

"Reducing the cost of studying teaching, nursing, agriculture, health and engineering will make these courses more attractive to students from all walks of life, particularly people from the regions.

"Hopefully, the alignment of these fee incentives to in-demand occupations will also improve job prospects for regional graduates.

"Equally, the $5,000 Tertiary Access Payment, to support outer regional and remote students to relocate for study, looks promising and many of our students could benefit from that."

Current students won't see fees increase on their degrees.

Professor Klomp said while some degrees may cost more in the future, people should still follow their passions and their career goals when applying to university.

"Australia has one of the best tertiary education systems in the world, and that includes the ability for most domestic undergraduate students to defer their fees until they are earning higher salaries," he said.

"If you're truly passionate about something - whether that's a career in law, business, science, carpentry or the creative arts - my advice is to follow that passion, as it's most likely to result in future career success.

"There are other ways to ease the cost of study, whether that's studying part-time while working, accessing government support, or taking advantage of one of the $3m worth of scholarships CQU offers each year."

Professor Klomp said it was great to see the federal government implementing the recommendations of the 2019 Napthine Review into regional, rural and remote education.

"The establishment of a Regional Education Commissioner to oversee the government's regional education strategy was one of the key recommendations of the Napthine review, and I welcome the announcement of this role," he said.

"I'm also very keen to take a closer look at the expansion of regional university places, the $500m fund to support indigenous, regional and low SES students to graduate, and the $48.4m research grants program for regional universities to partner with industry."

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