MORE Australians than ever before have tertiary qualifications, according to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The University of Ballarat has enjoyed the recent boom, with undergraduate student numbers increasing by more than 20 per cent between 2009 and 2012, and graduate levels also rising significantly.
An ABS reports shows that across the country postgraduate degrees have had the greatest increase, with numbers almost tripling from 280,000 in 2001 to more than 750,000 in 2012.
UB Deputy Vice-Chancellor professor Andy Smith said having a more educated population could only be a good thing.
“I think essentially we’re becoming a more highly skilled society, employers are looking for people who have broader and deeper skills than they did 20 or 30 years ago,” he said.
Richard Eldridge is currently in his eighth year at the University of Ballarat, undertaking a Masters in Business part-time.
Although he started studying before the government’s relaxing of the quota system, he has benefited from various fee deferral and loan programs.
Mr Eldridge said he had mixed reasons for studying, especially at post-graduate level.
“It was partly general interest and also partly looking at future job prospects,” he said.
“The HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) system made it much more accessible to students and financially it’s so much easier on me.
“I’ve found the experience (of university) very rewarding and I’m looking forward to completing my thesis late next year.”