120,000 tertiary places are missing
By Simone Siracusa
and Alex Bainbridge
MELBOURNE — Around 120,000 students eligible for higher education will not be offered places in universities and colleges because of government funding cuts.
For the 1992 academic year, a record 64,000 applied for entry to a tertiary institution in Victoria, but less than half had been accepted by February 5 after a 20% intake reduction.
The 21,000 eligible Victorian students not offered places must now wait for second and third round offers, expected to be around 3000; 18,000 will miss out altogether.
The federal government has expressed surprise at the extent of the problem even though the Victorian Post Secondary Education Commission warned last year that more funding was needed.
Most of the unsuccessful applicants are unlikely to find alternative places in already overcrowded TAFE courses. TAFE is offering an extra 11,000 places this year after turning away 30,000 applicants last year.
The Victorian government has denied responsibility for the situation, offering rejected students the opportunity to repeat their final year despite many principals claiming their schools are already full.
With customary generosity, employer groups have suggested government-funded job creation programs at special "youth wages".