THE University of the Sunshine Coast, which has long been considered the minnow of the tertiary education sector in Australia, is about to get much bigger.
After recently signing agreements to take control of the University of Southern Queensland's campus at Hervey Bay, the USC has been selected to develop the new Moreton Bay Region University Precinct at Petrie.
Announcing the decision yesterday, Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland said the USC had been selected through a tender process in which it competed against a number of universities from across Australia.
Under the agreement, the USC will develop a campus at Petrie equal to its Sippy Downs campus.
The Petrie campus will offer a range of courses including law, business, science, engineering as well as specialty courses such as mechatronics.
The Moreton Bay Region University Precinct is expected to cater for up to 10,000 students by 2030.
Mr Sutherland said up to 90% of university students in the Moreton Bay region now travelled up to three hours a day to attend university.
"This takes a massive toll on our region's young people and their families who battle every week to get to and from university," he said.
USC's Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Greg Hill, welcomed the council's decision and said his university was a "good fit" for the Morton Bay region.
The new, full-service campus was expected to be much the same size as the Sippy Downs campus within its first 10-15 years.
"We feel we're already a big part of this community - about 15% of our students already come from the Moreton Bay Region," Prof Hill said.
"We feel we're a good fit for the region. We have the mission and values that suit a regional community like Moreton Bay."
The council and USC will sign an agreement for the new campus at council's Strathpine headquarters this morning.
Yesterday's announcement follows the signing of documents to enable the transfer of the University of Southern Queensland's Hervey Bay campus to the USC.
The handover of the campus is subject to final government approvals which will enable USC to move into the Fraser Coast campus on February 1 next year.
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