China / Life

Melbourne university tops Australian ranking

By Xinhua in Sydney (China Daily) Updated: 2017-01-25 07:29

The University of Melbourne has once again been crowned as the best higher education institution in Australia.

Figures released by Simon Birmingham, the federal minister for education, on Wednesday revealed that the University of Melbourne had the highest rate of degree completion in the country at 88 percent between 2009 and 2014.

Margaret Sheil, acting vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, says the university's completion rate came as a result of the institution's imposing requirements of students.

Sheil says the model had also given students flexibility to "find their way" that had improved retention rates.

"The curriculum allows them to try different things," she told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.

"Often they find something that is more appealing and more attractive. It opens up more opportunities."

The data also revealed that a third of university students nationwide were not completing their degrees within six years.

Victoria's Federation University recorded the worst completion rate with just 52.5 percent of students who began their degrees in 2009 having finished them by 2014.

Marcia Devlin, Federation University's deputy vice-chancellor of learning and quality, says Federation University being a regional institution meant many students were mature-aged with families and a full-time job.

"They therefore have slower or lower completion rates than traditional students, who are often unencumbered, child-free middle-class school leavers who either live at home free with mum and dad or whose family pays for them to live on campus. These are the typical Melbourne university students," Devlin says.

"Regional universities do the 'heavy lifting' in Australia in terms of enrolling students often from low socioeconomic status backgrounds."

The figures were released as thousands of secondary school graduates received the first round of university offers for 2017.

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