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March 7, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Canterbury Students Transfer Studies

Many Canterbury University students are attempting to transfer to other universities in New Zealand and Australia after the devastating February 22 earthquake.

There was originally concern that New Zealand universities would be hesitant to take on large numbers of new students because of the government funding cap.

“Unfortunately, it seems some institutions are wary of being seen to poach students or to breach government-imposed enrolment caps. The Government needs to step in and ensure tertiary institutions are supported to take a coordinated national approach and that they will make room on their campuses for those students who need to transfer,” said Max Hardy, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations.

Most universities in New Zealand have publicly stated that they will do their best to assist Christchurch students to continue their studies.
Victoria University is doing its best to accommodate an influx of transferring domestic and study abroad students who want to escape the current stress and uncertainty of student life in Christchurch. The exact number is not known, but it is currently below 100.
“We have been fielding a number of enquiries from students since shortly after the Canterbury earthquake and are trying to provide advice and assistance where possible. If we have space in our programmes and courses, we have been accepting these students for Trimester One,” says Student Academic Services Director Pam Thorburn.

“We realise this is a difficult time for all those in Canterbury and for students considering their options in the short-term.”
AUT is taking a similar approach, granting affected students extraordinary circumstances admissions subject to places being available and students meeting minimum entry requirements. This will allow students to study in Auckland either temporarily or for the remainder of the course.

“Some Christchurch students have been completely displaced due to loss of accommodation, family moves and other impacts of the disaster,” said Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack. “AUT wishes to help displaced students continue to undertake their studies in 2011 with minimal disadvantage.”

Across the Tasman, the University of Adelaide has offered up 500 places to their Christchurch counterparts with Vice Chancellor and President Professor James McWha saying he is “pleased to extend the hand of friendship”.

“The University of Adelaide has a special relationship with the University of Canterbury. Christchurch is a sister city to Adelaide and our two universities are involved in a range of collaborations, such as in research. I have also worked in higher education in New Zealand for many years.

“Our sympathy and understanding extends to the people of Christchurch, and we see this as an opportunity to strengthen the ties between our two institutions at a time when it is
most needed.”

Some students, like Ryan Mackinnon, have decided to remain in Christchurch.
“I’m staying in Christchurch because I want to help with the clean up, first and foremost. Because my flat and all my friends are fine I want to go help those people who are worse off than me by joining in the Student Volunteer Army.
“I haven’t been so badly affected by the earthquakes, the aftershocks don’t bother me and I’m not ‘scared’ of Christchurch, so to speak, so I don’t want to get out, I’m happy staying, the fact that I can help out while I’m waiting for uni to start is an awesome bonus.”
Mackinnon did not know anyone who had transferred domestically. However he had heard of people that liked the idea of going to Adelaide.
“They will be wanting to go over there for an experience overseas, and probably just want to get some normality back by getting stuck into their study, and if they can’t do that here then wherever will take them.”

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