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Saturday, June 22, 2024

JCU welcomes Universities Accord final report

James Cook University (JCU) has expressed its enthusiastic support for the Australian Universities Accord’s final report, especially its proposal for a needs-based funding model aimed at increasing access to post-school education in regional and remote areas.

JCU’s Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs commended the Accord’s comprehensive review of Australia’s university sector, acknowledging the dedication of the panel over the past 18 months.

“This has been 18 months of very hard work by the Panel and they make some very strong and high quality recommendations that, if enacted, will build a much stronger university sector,” he said.

According to Professor Biggs, JCU strongly endorses the Accord’s emphasis on boosting participation among underrepresented groups and enhancing support for students.

In its submission to the Accord, JCU underscored the challenges faced by regional universities under the current volume-based funding system, which disproportionately affects institutions unable to expand through student numbers due to their geographical location.

The final report of the Accord proposes the adoption of a needs-based funding model that factors in the additional academic and support costs, institutional location, and student completion rates.

 Professor Biggs highlighted the potential of governance reforms to create place-based agreements between universities, governments, and communities, fostering accountability and sustainability for regional universities.

“The report’s strong focus on equity and the recommendations that regional universities need to be funded in a way that makes them sustainable is a very important outcome,” he said.

“This reform has the potential to deliver better outcomes and appropriate funding for regional universities including JCU.

“We welcome a reformed system that will be able to differentiate and not just treat all universities and all regions and communities as the same.”

Of particular importance to JCU is the recommendation for uncapped medical places for First Nations students meeting the entry requirements for a medical degree.

Professor Biggs hailed these recommendations as promising developments for regions like northern Queensland, offering greater opportunities for regional and remote students.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Mystery investor rescues Mossman cane industry and Unity to focus on cost-of-living.

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