Professor Caroline McMillen has welcomed the report of the review of the Demand Driven Funding System and the recommendations for expansion and improvement.

UON welcomes greater support for entry pathways

14 April 2014

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, has welcomed the report of the review of the Demand Driven Funding System released by the Australian Government, and the recommendations for the expansion and improvement of the system.

Professor McMillen said the review had taken an evidence-based approach to examining the design and outcomes of the demand driven system, and had delivered a series of recommendations and findings that, if accepted, could strengthen the overall system for future students and providers.

"The review highlights that Australian universities have responded with care in the implementation of the demand driven system," Professor McMillen said.

"In a relatively short time, the demand driven system has delivered strong returns by creating more opportunities for students, particularly those from low socio-economic backgrounds, regional and rural areas and Indigenous students. It has also helped to meet skills shortages and resulted in greater innovation within the higher education sector.

"Looking ahead, the report is clear that the funding per student for university places should not be reduced given the cost pressures on universities and the need to maintain competitiveness in an increasingly deregulated global marketplace for higher education."

Professor McMillen welcomed the recommendation by the review panel to include sub-bachelor places in the demand driven system.

"Academic preparation plays a critical role in a student's success at university. The review noted that enabling programs represent pathways into higher education that can provide students with the necessary skills to prepare for their university study.

"At the University of Newcastle, the country's largest provider of enabling programs, we have been monitoring the successful progression of students through these important pathways to university for forty years, and have demonstrated quality outcomes and significant achievements for graduates who started their university life as enabling students."

Professor McMillen noted the review's early support for the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

"As a provider of higher education in a region where education attainment levels are below national and state averages, HEPPP allows UON to conduct both outreach activities that encourage school students in our communities to consider enrolling in university as well as critical support activities that improve retention for students in our academic programs. HEPPP is a critical investment in building the skills and sustainability of our regions."

Professor McMillen also welcomed the review's recommendations to create a level playing field in the allocation of Commonwealth Supported postgraduate places.

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