Carnegie Mellon comes down under

Prestigious US university Carnegie Mellon is backing a new, privately funded educational institute in Adelaide offering post-graduate degrees in computer science and information technology.

Describing the university as one of the Asia-Pacific region's most important education centres, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said plans to establish the university were hatched in February with Adelaide Premier Mike Rann.

He said it will make Adelaide the "Boston" of Australia although a campus location is yet to be selected.

"I think this deal with Carnegie Mellon has the potential to create a truly great centre of excellence for the Asia-Pacific region right here in Adelaide," he said.

It will be the fourth university to be established in South Australia and will open in 2006.

Downer said it will be geared to attract about 3000 students from China, India, South-East Asia and the Middle East as well as Australia. Legislation allowing the establishment of the university will be introduced into State Parliament early next year.

Downer said Australian students admitted to private universities would be eligible for a new fee help system, involving public loans to private students that was "somewhat similar to, but not the same as the HECS system".

Rann said the university is a coup for the state and is scheduled to sign a heads of agreement with Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh on the weekend.

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