CATH NEWS REPORT- The Australian Catholic University, is continuing to lead the charge on aggressive growth, enrolling for a second successive year 30 per cent over its government allocation, reports The Australian.
"There was an assumption that growth would not begin until 2012, when the caps on enrolments come off," said ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven. "I suspect the biggest growth will be before 2012, and afterwards there will be a slower pattern of filling up toward the Bradley targets."
In a reported foretaste of the kind of market forces set to hit the university sector next year - when government caps on places are removed - Victoria University has suffered a 25 per cent drop in first-round offers.
Last year, nearly half of all universities enrolled 10 per cent or more over their allocation, with the government funding places up to 10 per cent.
After increasing offers by 30 per cent last year, La Trobe has reduced offers by 2.3 per cent this year. However, most universities appear to be projecting flat enrolments.This year, the number pursuing growth appears to have slowed, but the University of the Sunshine Coast reports a 16 per cent growth projection, Deakin 14 per cent, with several others, including Newcastle and Wollongong, aiming for a 10 per cent over-enrolment.
NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have now all made first-round offers. Demand is generally up, but only slightly. Queensland saw first preferences up by 1.4 per cent and NSW up by 2.8 per cent, while Victorian applications were down by 1.3 per cent.
Professor Craven said without doubt the level of competition was increasing with marketing campaigns more visible.
"My assumption is this year and next will be ferociously competitive. It will be interesting to see [how low] the cut-off scores go," Professor Craven said.