ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A leading figure in Far South West Queensland’s university sector has both slammed and lashed the government’s decision to put a cap on their cash cows, telling The Advocate that students from overseas largely keep the sector profitable.

Betoota University Vice-Chancellor Bill Frost said the university only really breaks even on domestic students, and international students essentially build the wealth of a university, which in turn allows them to engage in more research and raise up the rankings of world tertiary institutions.

A report last year into recent graduates from BU found that upwards for two-thirds of international students couldn’t read, write, or speak English. Of that two-thirds, five-sixths didn’t attend a single class or sit an exam in their final year.

Vice-Chancellor Frost explained it’s a necessary evil because of “funding shortcomings.”

“Universities like BU need international students to pay extortionate fees so we can afford to do things. They keep the lights on; the government does not,” he told our reporter.

“This leads to housing problems not just here but wherever a university is around the country. We only have a small number of college places at BU. There’s four colleges, in fact. St James Hall, a male-only college where you need to either be exceptional – or just the son of some rich old Protestant that went to one of three elite private schools. Findhubby, which is essentially the same but for women and people who identify as women. Yes, Wilberton, a place for nouveau-riche kids with good recall memory but from the wrong families and schools, talented sports people and a very limited amount of queer students. St Augustine College, that’s where the Catholics go,”

“The international students end up in some garish student housing development that displaced thousands of working-class people who used to live there. They pay over $500 a week, well their parents do, for the privilege. There’s a whole ecosystem around exploiting the Indian and Chinese middle class. Now the government wants to pull the rug out from under us. First they ban live export of sheep, now they want to ban live imports for universities. All of this could be avoided if the government just spent more money on universities and less on submarines,”

“If the government wants to slash immigration and cap students, fund universities properly and we won’t need to rip off people from overseas.”

The Advocate reached out to the government for comment but have yet to receive a reply.

More to come.


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