Southern Cross University in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth has recently been designated as a Level 1 institution. To talk about this great piece of news, we spoke with Ben McCully, Senior Vice President of the Southern Cross University Partnership and the man who very skillfully oversees all three branch campuses. Ben also shares what international students can expect this year from Southern Cross University.
EduCo: What exactly does a Level 1 designation mean?
Ben: A university’s ‘Evidentiary Level’ is an assigned ranking applied to Australian education providers and source countries of international students coming to Australia. It is determined by the Australian government. The lower the number, the better. Providers and source countries at Evidentiary Level 1 are considered lower risk than those on higher Evidentiary Level ratings.
EduCo: Awesome! So in the Australian government’s eyes, Southern Cross University and its international students are low risk. How does that benefit students applying to Southern Cross University?
Ben: Students applying to an Evidentiary Level 1 provider in Australia like Southern Cross University have their visa application processed through the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF).
In simple terms, Evidentiary Level 1 providers are not required to collect financial or English proficiency evidence from a student applying to attend should they deem it unnecessary.
Students who are unable to use the SSVF process are required to provide both financial evidence and evidence that they have the required levels of English as per an exam such as IELTS.
EduCo: And we’re welcoming more international students to Southern Cross University this year through scholarships. Tell us more about this.
Ben: For our July 2021 intake, commencing students are eligible for our Course Duration Scholarship (CDS) which offers a 30% reduction on our listed course fees. Students remain eligible for the scholarship subject to meeting the terms and conditions which relate to academic performance amongst other items. This is available for all students commencing in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
EduCo: That must be enticing for students feeling hesitant to study in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth due to cost concerns, especially during the pandemic. Speaking of the pandemic, what are classes like during COVID-19?
Ben: Students and staff have all had to adapt during 2020 and 2021. The health of our students and our staff is of the utmost importance and to ensure that we protect everybody, we have employed online facilitation of classes to which students have responded with great speed and accuracy.
As conditions have become more favourable and local restrictions have begun to ease, we have started to return to the campus even though it has been in a small and measured way.
Whilst it is not the same as face to face, we have continued to carry out online engagements through our virtual means and this has meant that students can remain engaged.
Interestingly, our student survey feedback has shown growing rates of student satisfaction, indeed more than our thresholds, which is a testament to the resilient attitudes of our students and staff who have chosen to make the best of things. We have even seen pass rates equal, and in some cases, exceed our traditional outcomes.
EduCo: Even in online or hybrid format classes, students at Southern Cross University remain highly engaged.
Ben: Over the last three years, we have worked extremely hard to build a culture that represents true teamwork and partnership at SCU.
At the beginning of every commencing students’ journey with us, I remind them that we are in a partnership together and that my team and I will work as hard as we can to provide the best possible experience for students, but this will only come to fruition if they too put in an equally significant effort. That is how true partnerships succeed.
EduCo: It seems this idea of ‘partnership’ has helped with Southern Cross University’s success. What other opportunities resonate well with students?
Ben: We have had wonderful success in helping students gain opportunities for employment through our Career Edge Program that compliments our graduate’s attributes with a level of employment readiness that we cultivate with our students over their time with us. One only has to look at the outcomes of the QILT survey, a sector-wide survey of graduates from across Australian institutions, to see how Southern Cross University performs in a range of areas. It has consistently performed well in Student Services and Graduate Outcomes and Employment.
Quite simply, we consider it a privilege to have a student join us and our absolute responsibility is to see them succeed.