La Trobe Regional Arts students will be hit hard by 2021 changes

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters is calling on La Trobe University to reinstate face to face learning for Bachelor of Arts students in Bendigo next year.

“I am deeply concerned that La Trobe is moving their arts degree to an online only option for regional students in the same year that fees for these students will dramatically increase,” Chesters said. 

“We should be trying to entice more people to study in regional areas like Bendigo, instead students who want to study the arts face-to-face will have to move to Melbourne.

“La Trobe University is known for having world class health and engineering departments, it’s so disappointing that the arts does not get the same precedence,” Chesters said.

The Federal Government’s Job Ready Graduates Package, announced this year, will see the student contribution for arts courses more than double to around $14,500 a year. 

This package also introduced significant funding cuts to universities like La Trobe University.

“La Trobe’s decision to move some courses online follows three rounds of redundancies this year, all of which could have been avoided if the Morrison Government offered greater support to the sector,” Chesters said.

“On the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic we will need universities like Bendigo’s LaTrobe to train the skilled workers we need to lead our local economy and country out of this economic crisis.”

La Trobe Arts student, Tara McGrath said this year has made her realise the importance of face-to-face learning.

“The few on-site classes I had this year were enough to show me that the difference in on campus learning and online delivery is really large, in terms of the level of learning able to be achieved.

“I held out to attend in person because I know I learn better face to face.

“Metro and regional students will obviously wind up paying the same amount for a Bachelor of Arts, but these changes mean only metro students get face to face on campus teaching - how on earth is that fair?”

“When regional communities need a social worker, a teacher, or any of the huge amounts of disciplines covered under the Bachelor of Arts, what will we have access to?” McGrath said.