University of Southern Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie has disputed a Federal Government report.
University of Southern Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie has disputed a Federal Government report. Bev Lacey

USQ disputes negative report on student completion rates

THE University of Southern Queensland has labelled a Federal Government report showing the university's low completion rate as "misleading".   

The report by the Department of Education and training listed USQ as one of the worst when it came to students completing their degrees within a six-year period.   

The latest figures showed just 42.5 per cent of students had completed their degrees from 2012-2015.   

USQ vice-chancellor professor Geraldine Mackenzie said a number of factors were relevant in looking at how degree completion rates were calculated.  

"The low six-year completion data used in the report does not take into account that many students studying in regional universities like USQ are enrolled part-time and who have many other competing demands on their time," she said.

"It's the six-year completion time that the government is using to calculate completion rates that is the problem.  

Digi subs The Chronicle
Digi subs The Chronicle Contributed

"We know from our own analysis that part-time students often take time away from study due to family commitments or for financial reasons but later return to university to finish their degree.  

"When large numbers of students do this, it has a flow on effect on how student numbers are reported."  

"Two thirds of our students are over the age of 25; over 40 per cent come from rural and remote areas. Our students might take longer to complete their degree but this does not mean they are unsuccessful."  

In comparison to the gloomy figures, the 2018 Good Universities Guide gave USQ a five-star rating as Queensland's top university for full time graduate employment.  

Prof Mackenzie said 82.5% of graduates found full-time employment within four months of finishing their course, well above the national average of 69.5 percent.  

According to the Good University Guide, the median starting salary for USQ graduates is $61,000, the highest in Australia  

Highest - University of Sydney, University of NSW, Australian National University  

Lowest - Federation University in Victoria, Charles Darwin University, University of Southern Queensland  



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