Over half of Lincoln University students not getting qualified

Lincoln University's Telford Division has repaid $1.5 million after an investigation found it under-delivered on four of ...
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Lincoln University's Telford Division has repaid $1.5 million after an investigation found it under-delivered on four of its courses.

Almost 70 per cent of Lincoln University certificate students have dropped out or failed their courses.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has released the 2015 performance reports for all tertiary education providers. In Canterbury, Lincoln University sat below average in all four categories assessed by the commission. 

The measurements include qualification completion, retention rate of first year students, course completion and student progression to higher levels of study. 

Sixty-nine per cent of Lincoln University students who took on a level 1 to 3 programme in 2014 did not complete their qualification. 

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The rate varied depending on the level of study, but even at degree level 38 per cent of students who first enrolled in 2010 had since either dropped out or did not pass their course. 

The median rate of non-achievers across all levels was 54 per cent, slightly lower than Massey University's 55 per cent.

About 30 per cent of University of Otago students did not obtain their qualifications, compared to 40 per cent at Canterbury University.

A Lincoln University spokesman said no-one was available to comment on the report. 

Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce said the high number of part-time students likely brought Lincoln's average down – 65 per cent of full time students completed study, compared to 22 per cent of part-timers. 

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Part time students often took several courses, but not necessarily a full qualification.

The reports became available as news surfaced of Lincoln University under-delivering on some of its courses. 

It was forced to repay $1.5 million of taxpayer money to the TEC, after an investigation found it had been receiving funding for teaching hours it was not delivering. 

In November 2015, TEC commissioned accounting firm Deloitte to investigate the university's Telford Division, near Balclutha in Otago.

Out of 10 programmes investigated, four had not delivered the "required learning hours" paid for. 

The programmes, delivered between 2010 and 2015, were the Telford Certificate in Farming (Practices), National Certificate in Horticulture (Arboriculture), National Certificate in Horticulture and Telford Foundation Certificate in Arboriculture.

Lincoln University said it "moved quickly" to address TEC's concerns.

One student interviewed as part of the investigation said he enrolled in a programme, but accepted a job offer and did not attend. Funding was claimed for the student, and course completion records showed he was awarded the qualification, despite not taking part. 

The investigation found it was an administrative error, limited to one student.

TEC chief executive Tim Fowler said students who successfully completed the programmes would retain their qualifications. 

There was no evidence to suggest Telford had not met its assessment requirements, he said.

The Committee on University Academic Programmes would allow the university to continue offering the programmes.

Lincoln University's Telford spokeswoman Joan Grace said the situation was regrettable, but the quality of the courses delivered to students was "not in question". 

The university had implemented changes to improve administrative oversight, she said. 

 - Stuff

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