A drop in Vocational Education Training course enrolments has been blamed for Federation University’s 2015 decline in student numbers.
However, the university’s vice-chancellor Professor David Battersby said VET enrolments have since stabilised.
In 2014, there were 22,336 students enrolled at the university compared to only 21,043.
The biggest drop was at the university’s Wimmera campus, which fell from 963 to 505 students in just 12 months.
Professor Battersby said student numbers at Horsham had “traditionally varied over the years”.
“But we are confident that numbers have stabilised there and may grow in the future,” Professor Battersby said. “We also have introduced more blended learning options that enable Wimmera students to engage with courses at Ballarat.”
He said the numbers at the Wimmera and Ballarat campuses were “slightly down” due to a statewide decline in TAFE enrolments.
However, the numbers at the Gippsland campus have risen dramatically from 584 to 1108. Monash University transferred the Churchill campus to Federation University in January 2014.
But Professor Battersby did not comment on questions about any possible takeover of Monash University’s Berwick campus.
Monash University will close the campus in Melbourne’s outer south-east by the end of 2018 unless it can partner with another university on the site after a deal with Victoria University fell through.
Federation University has been in talks to take over Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus but all discussions have been put on hold until after the federal election.
“The Gippsland campus has steadily increased its student numbers since 2014,” Professor Battersby said.
“Gippsland students are drawn to our wide range of higher education programs in their region.
“We are pleased commencing student enrolments continue to grow.”
Professor Battersby said he was also “delighted” international student numbers were up from 6852 in 2014 to 7213 last year. “The university does extensive marketing and recruiting in this area and we are pleased more international students are seeing the benefits of FedUni.”
Student numbers at the Ballarat campus dropped from 11,032 to 9773.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.