A NEW website will let students compare universities on different criteria and the Government already is planning its expansion.
The MyUniversity site launched in Canberra today gives information such as offered courses, student-to-staff ratios, fees, student satisfaction, and access to student services and campus facilities.
Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said the Government was already working on expanding and refining the information available to include employment outcomes and better data on student experiences.
The site soon will include more information about what potential employers are looking for.
Providing connections would ensure a broad education as well as training for the jobs emerging in the economy,” Senator Evans said.
“So they can get the full picture not only of the experience at university but also what that means for their employment prospects,” he said at a high school in Canberra.
Much of the information on the MyUniversity site has been available already but Senator Evans said a student had to be “very determined” to find it all.
Year 12 student Briana Duck said her first look at the website had been very helpful.
“It gives heaps of statistics and you can compare the information you want,” the Canberra student said.
“Where they are, how many students go and complete it (their course) and get jobs further on.”
Briana is hoping to study forensics and said the website let her find which universities offered the course, how long each degree took and how many students studied it.
Senator Evans said each university vetted information before it appeared on the site to ensure accuracy.
There had been some sensitivity, particularly about releasing staff-to-student ratios, but the minister said these were important issues to students.
“If students start making choices around those issues and that affects enrolments, I’m sure you’ll find universities responding,” he said.
Briana said it was something she would consider in choosing where to study.
“You want to know how much attention you’re going to get and how many places there are,” she said.
The website has been well received by universities and tertiary students, but both said there was more work to do.
Universities Australia, the sector’s peak body, said prospective students must be able to have confidence in the information’s accuracy.
“Getting it right is also essential for the reputation of universities operating in an increasingly competitive market brought on by the demand-driven enrolment system,” chief executive Belinda Robinson said.
“We don’t believe the MyUniversity website is there yet, particularly in relation to attrition rates, staff-student ratios, the entry score cut-off search function, course mapping and searchability.”
The National Union of Students said the right kind of information was being provided but more detail was needed.
“Students have a right to know whether they will be enrolling at a campus with a culture of student-run student life and student services,” president Donherra Walmsley said.
“We believe it is essential that this information be included in the next iteration of the MyUniversity website.”
Ultimately students would benefit because universities would no longer be able to hide behind their brand.
Source: AAP April 03, 2012