National Party Senator for Victoria and Chair of the Senate Education and Employment References Committee Bridget McKenzie today called on regional universities to apply for funding under the National Priorities Pool program to assist regional and rural students into universities.
Funding applications are now being accepted from universities looking at creating more opportunities for targeted support and innovative ways to lift education outcomes for country students.
“Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and regional and rural areas are under-represented at university, with many talented but disadvantaged students missing out of a university education.
“Rural populations in Victoria suffer from a disproportionate level of disadvantage. Students from rural Victoria represent about 30 per cent of the total school student population, but far fewer go on to attend university or study at a Certificate IV level or above.
While the number of regional and remote undergraduates increased by 25% in the ten years between 2003 and 2013, the number of urban students jumped by 39% leaving regional and remote students severely disadvantaged.
“This simply isn’t good enough and we need to address issues of aspiration, access and achievement for regional students, to ensure their capacity is met.
“I believe that the National Priority Pool grants are an ideal way for universities across the country to strengthen those pathways.
“This $3.5 million round of grants will deliver more ideas and opportunities for regional and rural Australians because the Turnbull Government wants all students – regardless of their financial status or location – to be able to access higher education.
“This funding is one of the ways the Turnbull Government is boosting education outcomes for those students who need it most.
“The National Priorities Pool grants ensure that Australians who have the ability to study at university have the opportunity to do so, no matter where they live.
” Universities have until 31 May 2016 to bid for a share of the $3.5 million worth of grants being made available through the National Priorities Pool. More information is available at: https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-participation-and-partnerships-programme-heppp