The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has cemented its reputation as one of Queensland’s fastest growing education institutions, after receiving almost $50 million from the Federal Government to expand its digital and online learning capabilities.
The funds will allow USQ to develop further its building footprint at Springfield with the signing today (Friday 13 April) of the purchase of its existing two campus buildings and three hectares of prime land from Springfield City Group for $52 million to cater for the expected ongoing growth.
Shayne Neumann Federal Member for Blair confirmed that last year USQ secured a Federal Government grant to begin Stage Two of the USQ Springfield campus.
“This is an opportunity for USQ to establish a signature building that secures USQ’s growth opportunity and provides an additional capacity for USQ’s growing online market,” Shayne Neumann said.
Federal member for Oxley Bernie Ripoll said that the university was transforming not only lives but the entire region.
“The university is giving people a wonderful opportunity to expand their knowledge and further their tertiary education and this is one of the reasons why the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund (SAF) (aimed at increasing the number of students undergoing tertiary education in non-metropolitan areas) was willing to provide the additional funding to USQ.” He said.
The funding is the largest single government grant ever received by the University and will be used to expand the campus and to launch the USQ connected program which is designed to expand, encourage and enrich student participation and improve the overall university experience.
After six years in its current location the USQ Springfield campus is already at its growth target of 1500 students.
The deal affirms USQ’s intent to establish a permanent home in Springfield’s Education City and to cater for student growth in Queensland’s third fastest growing region.
USQ Vice- Chancellor and President ProfessorJan Thomas said the success of the location had exceeded all expectations.
“We are currently working on plans for our new building which will give more students to take up a place at USQ. The expansion strengthens our growing reputation as south-east Queensland’s most dynamic university,” Professor Thomas said.
“The Springfield campus is only six years old, but each year our student numbers are growing. More than 30 per cent of our on-campus students come from beyond a 30 km radius including areas such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and interstate. It is now the university of choice for the surrounding region.
“We’re expanding our range of subjects. Next year we will introduce a four year bachelor of engineering degree on top of the number of new programs added this year. We are listening to the students and local industry and responding to their needs.
“It demonstrates our confidence in the area. Whenever you go into a greenfield site there are always risks involved and concerns about whether things will fall into place, such as schools, shopping centres and transport links. Not only are they there but there’s more than what we’d even envisaged in the first place.”
Springfield City Group Chairman Maha Sinnathamby said USQ’s decision to expand facilities at its Springfield campus is a significant boost for the local economy.
“The USQ campus is a foundation plank of Springfield’s Education City initiative and its expansion will provide further opportunities for people living in Australia’s 3rd largest growing corridor,” Mr Sinnathamby said.
“This is a clear indication that the University sees Springfield as a successful and mature community.
“The students at this campus and those who will soon arrive are the workforce of the future for Queensland and in particular the western corridor. Greater Springfield is home to Brisbane’s second CBD and our ongoing developments in Health, IT, Finance and construction will benefit from the advanced education they are receiving at USQ.
“A larger university campus means greater choice of courses for local residents and those for whom Springfield is their educational destination. It is a perfect fit for our vision of lifelong learning, which is to deliver one job for every three residents.”
Forty-five per cent of the Greater Springfield population is currently involved in formal learning with approximately 10,200 students of a population of 23,000 attending childcare, school, training or tertiary institutions.