$48.9 million grant to cement USQ’s status as leader in distance education
USQ has received a $48.9 million grant from the Federal Government to launch a new program that will streamline the digital and online experience for all USQ students.
The funding is the largest single government grant ever received by the University and will be used to launch the USQconnected program which is designed to expand, encourage and enrich student participation and improve the overall university experience.
USQconnected will be a huge benefit for the university’s 20,000 distance education students, helping cement USQ’s status as an industry-leader in online education by allowing distance students to have a similar campus experience as a full-time face-to-face student.
The application for funding was made to the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund (SAF), aimed at increasing the number of students undergoing tertiary education in non-metropolitan areas.
While many distance enrolled students sometimes study in isolation from others in their class, USQ’s new generation of learning will aim to provide all students, regardless of where they might live, with access to specially developed study materials and greater on-line interactive learning opportunities by way of a borderless virtual classroom.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Bill Lovegrove said the funding would open many windows of opportunity to students who otherwise might not have had the chance to go on to higher education.
‘This will be of immense benefit, not just to USQ generally, but also to Toowoomba as it strenthens the region’s status as one of Australia’s education capitals,’ Prof Lovegrove said.
‘One of the causes I have been passionate about as Vice Chancellor is showing our communities that USQ is as good as, if not better than, any other Australian university.
‘The SAF grant will give our communities an education future like no other.
‘We are already part of an education revolution in the changing way we use the Internet, smart phones and all forms of new technology.
‘By embracing those changes and developing new ways of learning and teaching, the future for our communities can only be better.’
The funding will also allow USQ to move forward with plans to allow students working and learning anywhere in Queensland to access seamless pathways into a university degree. USQ has already in place an agreement with TAFE Queensland for a collaboration to increase the take up of tertiary education in regional areas by making it easier for students to move between TAFE and university courses.
Funds will also be used towards constructing the Education Gateways (EDGY) Building at USQ’s Springfield campus which will become a major incubator for learning innovation and teaching enhancement across all three USQ campuses.