The Victorian university graduates who earn the most, and have no trouble getting jobs, didn’t attend the state’s most prestigious tertiary institutions.
They are enrolled at the accessible Australian Catholic University – which has seven campuses across Australian including one in Ballarat and Melbourne.
University of Melbourne and Monash graduates took home a median starting salary of $55,000, but were outperformed by Australian Catholic University students, who earned $600 more.
When it comes to finding a job, Australian Catholic University students are the most successful in Victoria, with 72.4 per cent finding full-time work within four months of graduating. Many choose to pursue careers that are in demand, like nursing.
At the University of Melbourne, 66.7 per cent of students found full-time work within four months of finishing.
But Australia’s unhappiest students are enrolled here in Melbourne at Victoria University and La Trobe University, according to new data released by the federal government. Only three quarters of students at thee university said they were satisfied.
The happiest students were located in the sunshine state – 90.1 per cent of those enrolled at the private Bond University said they were satisfied.
The federal government’s quality indicators for learning and teaching data, released on Tuesday, also reveals which students receive the highest salaries when they graduate.
The University of Western Australia has the highest paid graduates in the country, with a median starting salary of $63,000.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the data was part of a broader push to increase transparency in the higher education sector.
“That’s why I’ve asked the Higher Education Standards Panel to consult on the best ways we can ensure students are ‘uni-ready’ and can make informed choices about their studies,” he said.
For the first time, students will be able to compare satisfaction rates across university and non-university sectors, which includes TAFEs and private colleges.
Mr Birmingham said most students had positive experiences and the results showed that Australia had a world-class higher education system.
The 2015 data was drawn from a large survey of 145,000 students, who were asked about the overall quality of their educational experience, teaching quality, learner engagement, learning resources , student support and skills development.
A La Trobe university spokesman said the survey was taken in the middle of the university’s largest ever restructure and that may have impacted the results.
More than 300 university staff left at the end of 2014 as part of the overhaul.
“We are confident those figures will rebound,” he said.
“Current students here are having a very positive experience.”
It comes as universities face a big fee shake-up, which could allow them to charge as much as they like for their best courses.
Victoria University deputy vice chancellor Kerri-Lee Krause said the results showed a gradual turnaround in satisfaction levels.
“I am confident that the university’s new blended learning strategy and other major initiatives such as a curriculum refresh and a stronger focus on retention will contribute to higher student satisfaction levels over the longer term,” she said.