Clarification on CQUniversity course fees

CQUniversity costs published in The Morning Bulletin and The Observer were only for international students.

The information was taken from the CQU website in good faith.

There was no reference to international students on the page we looked at.

In this letter Vice-Chancellor SCOTT BOWMAN clarifies that issue and seeks to further explain elements of our story related to the student cost debate.

THIS week CQUniversity welcomed the largest cohort of commencing students in our near-50-year history as O-week celebrations begin.

There have never been more domestic students studying at CQUniversity than there are today.

About two-thirds of these students have come from low socio-economic backgrounds and regional/remote communities.

No other Australian University even comes close to the student demographic that we service, and that is something that makes every one of our 1500 staff immensely proud.

We are, and always will be, the university of access and opportunity.

This is what compels us to close the gap between degree-level study among school-leavers in central Queensland (less than 30%) to that of inner Brisbane (over 65%).

The article suggesting we have degrees that cost over $100,000, and behaviour akin to "a grab for cash" from our students is therefore quite distressing, and inherently wrong.

The list of published "CQU program costs" explaining "this is how much your degree will cost by the time you complete it" is utterly incorrect.

It suggested, for instance, that a local student studying a Bachelor of Education degree will eventually pay $73,000. Wrong.

This is the amount that a full-fee paying international student would pay - and that is a highly competitive sector price too.

A local student would see total degree fees of less than a quarter of that, or about $18,000.

Furthermore, it is the government who sets undergraduate fee costs, not CQUniversity.

So this is the same amount a domestic student would pay for this degree anywhere in Australia.

Nor would a student need to pay a cent upfront. Australian students can defer their fees by HECS loan, which doesn't accrue interest above CPI, and doesn't have to be repaid until the student earns over $50,000 a year.

Of all the degree costs published, local students would only be paying a fraction of the stated amounts.

A full list of CQUniversity course offerings and fee structures for domestic students are freely available on our website.

The article also raised the issue of some postgraduate students noticing an increase in fee cost per unit of study this year.

This inadvertently came about from adjustments to post-grad course structures mandated by the Commonwealth.

Subjects previously worth eight credit points had to be reduced to six, with a flow-on impact on fees.

The very moment a student raised the effect this had on fees with us, we instigated an immediate fee correction to ensure no current students would be worse off.

We will be contacting the 100-or-so students that were impacted directly this week to inform them of the fee correction. CQUniversity did what was right, and we acted quickly.

Can I say to any potential student who read the article; please do not be deterred to study.

Post-schooling education is highly affordable and central Queensland desperately needs more graduates.

Australia has an incredibly generous student loan/support scheme, and an education will always be the greatest investment you can make.

Professor Scott Bowman is vice-chancellor and president at CQUniversity Australia.