Acting Vice-Chancellor at the University of Western Sydney, Robert Coombes, says U-W-S is to lose 7.

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5-million dollars in annual funding under the new arrangements.

Professor Coombes says the real risk is not the size of the shortfall, but the shortfall itself.

He says U-W-S has a strong mission to reach geographically and socially diverse communities, and that is directly threatened by the proposed changes.

“I’m very concerned because this university is serving a wonderful mission in providing quality education to people who deserve a break…We’re also contributing in so many other ways – culturally, economically, socially – and I’m sure that everyone in the west would be aghast to think that anything would adversely affect the delivery of its mission.”

Professor Coombes says only 10.5 per cent of adults in Greater Western Sydney have a university degree, compared with 20.8 per cent for the rest of Sydney , a discrepancy U-W-S is trying to address.

The Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne’s Victoria University, Jarlath Ranayne, says Education MInister, Brendan Nelson’s plan is designed to force universities off public funding.

Professor Ranayne says he is concerned they will be forced to raise money through fee increases, and he says the region served by Victoria University is very socially disadvantaged.

Dr Nelson has announced an increase in transition funding, promising no university will be financially disadvantaged during the changeover to the new system.

But U-W-S and Victoria University say the government’s projected figures are wrong.

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