Federation University so far has offered 1533 places for 2017, according to Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre figures.
This includes 1403 first round higher education offers and 130 TAFE places across its four campuses, including Ballarat, Wimmera, Gippsland and its newly opened Berwick site.
Federation University also recorded a 16 per cent rise in first preference applications – higher than any other Victorian university.
The university’s acting vice-chancellor Professor Andy Smith said it was an excellent start to the year, and he was proud of the interest shown by students.
He also said Federation University would continue to emphasise new students’ potential to succeed, rather than just their ATAR score.
“We believe our students are more than a numerical value, a ranking, based on high school performance that is too often a source of angst for many high school students. Our Open Access Selection Model allows more opportunities for students to study a higher education degree.
“It is based on applicants meeting prerequisite study scores rather than a minimum ATAR. It recognises a student’s potential to succeed at university study.”
The university’s deputy vice-chancellor (learning and quality) Professor Marcia Devlin also addressed a report which showed only 52.5 per cent of Federation University’s students in 2009 had completed their course by 2014.
“Students studying at regional universities are often mature age students with family, caring and work responsibilities,” Professor Devlin said.
“This means they often study part time, taking longer than traditional students to complete a program. These students also have competing priorities and often dip in and out of programs of study, depending on their other commitments.
“Regional universities do the ‘heavy lifting’ in Australia in terms of enrolling students often from low socio-economic status backgrounds.”
Australian Catholic University offered 4182 places across its campuses, including at Ballarat.