UNIVERSITY of Newcastle undergraduate students enrolled at Port Macquarie are expected to be able to complete the remainder of their degrees on the campus, despite it changing its focus to postgraduate programs and research.
UON announced on Thursday afternoon it would not offer any new undergraduate enrolments at the Port Macquarie campus, effective immediately.
UON said in a statement it would support the 291 students enrolled at the campus in nursing, midwifery and primary teaching "in their local studies, continuing to teach and support the existing full-time students through to graduation".
"The majority of current students will complete their studies by 2022," the statement said.
"The university will work closely with part-time students to identify and plan individual pathways and options for completion of their degrees."
Vice-Chancellor Alex Zelinsky AO and the faculty heads met with Port Macquarie staff on Thursday afternoon to discuss how they will be affected by the changes.
UON said it has 58 staff at Port Macquarie: 37 are casual, 14 are fixed-term and seven are permanent and not on contract.
Professor Zelinsky said the higher education landscape in Port Macquarie had changed.
Charles Sturt University has developed a campus and UNSW has introduced a medical degree being offered at the Port Macquarie Shared Health Research and Education Campus.
"The long term interests of the community and students who want to study locally is now being met in a variety of ways through collaboration and multiple providers," Professor Zelinsky said.
"We know that despite the local degree offerings, a large number of young people from Port Macquarie choose to move to Newcastle and to the Central Coast to study with our institution and we know that will also continue."
He said UON would now concentrate on postgraduate programs and research at Port Macquarie and would continue to collaborate with Charles Sturt University, the Port Macquarie Base Hospital, the Mid North Coast Local Health District and other stakeholders.
The UON Department of Rural Health will continue to support final-year allied health students on clinical placements at the base hospital.
"We're extremely proud of the contribution the University of Newcastle has made to the Port Macquarie-Hastings region since we opened our doors in 2003," Professor Zelinsky said.
"More than 700 students have graduated from our Port Macquarie campus and each day they're making a difference in their communities as nurses, primary teachers and midwives."
The National Tertiary Education Union and NUSA have been contacted for comment.
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