UWS “surprised and disappointed” by funding cuts
Disadvantaged students from western Sydney will be hardest hit
Like much of the western Sydney community, University of Western Sydney was surprised and disappointed by the Federal Government’s decision to claw back $2.8 billion in funding from Australia’s universities.
Vice Chancellor Professor Janice Reid said, “We are very surprised by the cuts, given the Government’s long-standing support for education, particularly its efforts to widen participation among the most disadvantaged members of the community.”
UWS supports the Gonski review and its recommendations. Indeed, the University works directly with 850 schools and over 20,000 students within the western Sydney region, helping to build skills and aspirations.
“The so-called ‘efficiency dividend’ threatens to reduce our Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) funding – critical to supporting university students and teaching – by almost $15 million,” said Professor Reid.
“UWS looks to be the hardest hit university in Australia. The impact on students will be severe, with less funding available to support the multiple programs we have in place to ensure they succeed in their studies, whatever their means and background,” Professor Reid continued.
The proposed changes to the Student Start Up Scholarship for students facing financial hardship – which will now become a loan instead of a scholarship – will increase the debt burden on those least able to afford it.
Professor Reid added, “It’s ironical that with all the political attention focussed on supporting the growth and development of western Sydney, we here in the west are then expected to do the majority of the heavy lifting to deliver national budget commitments.”
“Three-quarters of our 41,000 students are from western Sydney”, Professor Reid continued. “Of these, roughly 24 per cent are from low-socio-economic backgrounds and more than half are the first in their family to go to university. Where is the logic in hurting one group to help another? Surely the Government could find savings in other areas that won’t limit opportunities for our Region’s families and students.”
The University of Western Sydney will continue to press both sides of politics to ensure that the people of western Sydney are not further disadvantaged and that they continue to be able to benefit from higher education regardless of their circumstances or income.
18 April 2013