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An investigation into why students from regional South Australia choose to study business programs in the capital city

  • Year: 2011
  • Author: Sawyer, Janet; Ellis, Bronwyn
  • Journal Name: Education in Rural Australia
  • Journal Number: Vol. 21, No. 2
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: South Australia

Although Business undergraduate studies are available at the University of South Australia's (UniSA) Centre for Regional Engagement (CRE), both at the Whyalla Campus and the Mount Gambier Regional Centre (MGRC), many students from regional South Australia choose to undertake Business degrees in Adelaide, the state capital, rather than locally. This paper outlines the findings of an investigation into the reasons for their choice. The ultimate objective of the research is to indicate ways of encouraging regional students to study in their regions, and hence be more likely to work and contribute as graduates to regional sustainability. Increased enrolments would also enhance the sustainability of the Business programs offered by the CRE. Internal students studying in a wide variety of Business degrees at UniSA's City West Campus who had moved to the city from the country were sent an e-mail invitation to complete an on-line questionnaire. The criterion for participating in the study was that the student's home was at least 250 kilometres from Adelaide. Respondents were asked: whether they were aware of the nature of the Business degrees available regionally through the CRE; if so, how they had sourced this information; their reasons for choosing to study a Business program in Adelaide; whether they had considered staying in their region and studying at the CRE; and why they had not chosen to do so. Further questions asked about the students' basis of entry to university and whether they would have considered studying at least the first year of their degree at the CRE. Closedstyle questions were used, designed so that students could simply select the appropriate alternative; however, each question contained an ―Otherǁ option requesting more specific information or inviting further comments. The data collected suggest that almost half of the respondents were not aware of the Business programs offered at the Whyalla Campus and the MGRC. The clear majority of the respondents who indicated that they were aware of the programs available obtained the information from the UniSA website. Very few gained the knowledge from attending UniSA information sessions or other career events. The students generally would not have considered staying in the region for the first year of their program, but would be interested in attending regional intensive Summer/Winter Schools. Many of their additional comments provided insights useful for future strategic planning and marketing purposes.

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