The large number of Australians who’ve had to hunker down and wait out the twin economic and health crises has resulted in a jump in enrolments at Southern Cross University after its ‘relatively smooth’ transition to online delivery.
Applications to begin studying with the mid-year intake beginning in July have already risen by more than 10 percent, with that number expected to lift even further before the cutoff date.
Deputy vice chancellor (academic), Professor Tyrone Carlin, said it’s the biggest increase in overall domestic student load so far this year.
“We’ve been able to leverage our online expertise, and while we aren’t sure of the timeframe for when classes will be held on campus again, the programs we’re offering online have enabled a superb continuity of delivery for our students,” Carlin said.
That continuity has even extended to students caught up in China’s initial lockdown, who were able to successfully sit their exams online in a situation likely to be mirrored in Australia at the end of the current semester.
It also helps that Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy payments for students have doubled as part of the COVID-19 stimulus packages announced by the federal government.
Senior manager of student management at SCU, Paul Robinson, added that a number of the applicants are returning to higher education to upskill as the unprecedented impacts of the coronavirus force industries from aviation to retail to stand down thousands of workers.
Both new and existing students can also benefit from the university’s auxiliary services, which also made the move online.
Robinson said that includes students support services like administration, counselling, chaplaincy programs, career advice , advocacy and library services.
“We do look forward to when we can welcome thousands of students back onto our beautiful campuses, but as always we will continue to have a strong and supported online cohort when that happens,” Carlin added.