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University Council decides on HECS


Brigid Veale
27 May 2005
Southern Cross University Council has voted to increase the HECS contribution level by 25 per cent for students from the beginning of 2006.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark said the decision was made after extremely careful consideration by the University Council and with regard to the future outlook of the sector.

"It is with regret that the Council has made this decision, but in view of the continuing shortfall in Federal Government funding we have no responsible choice but to increase HECS, in line with the majority of public universities in Australia," Professor Clark said.

"In real terms since 1997, the level of funding to the sector has fallen 14 per cent, while costs have continued to rise.

"We remain committed to providing opportunities for students from all backgrounds, but we also need to remain competitive in the sector and able to attract top academics."

He said for many students the major deterrent to University was not HECS, but the up-front costs associated with studying.

"We are examining a range of measures to minimise these costs to ensure Southern Cross University represents a best value provider."

Professor Clark said the decision to raise HECS was not due to the University's deficit, which was a result of a one-off shift in funding allocations from 2004 to 2005 and accrued depreciation costs for building stock.

"In an operational sense the budget is balanced, but we do need to find additional income because of the ongoing pressures on Universities across the sector."