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Grants available to enable regional students’ aspirations for higher education

Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie

Applications are now open for funding for initiatives that encourage students and individuals in regional and remote areas of Australia to aspire to completing higher education.

The Australian Government’s Regional Partnerships Project Pool Program provides $7.1 million over three years for the delivery of collaborative outreach programs that support the higher education aspirations of students in regional communities.

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson urged tertiary education providers to take up the challenge and work with regional communities on proposals that would give more opportunities for local students to go to university.

“Many young school leavers would appreciate opportunities to go to university or get a qualification that will help them get a job and build a career,” Senator Henderson said.

“The program will fund universities, Regional University Centres, other higher education providers, vocational education and training providers, schools and community groups to collaborate on tailored approaches that support the best possible outcomes for students.

Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the program responds to the Napthine Review, which found students from regional areas were often disincentivised from pursuing university or other studies.

“There is no easy fix to the barriers many students face in accessing higher education, which is why we’re looking to fund innovative proposals that will directly involve regional communities themselves,” Minister McKenzie said.

“I encourage applicants to explore new ways to engage with regional communities to meet the needs of local students, and to make the most of any existing connections between community groups and education providers.

“The initial funding round offers eligible applicants funding totalling $1 million to establish partnerships with regional communities in their state or territory and co-design a proposal for initiatives which offer students the same quality and diversity of higher education outreach as metropolitan students.”

“Phase 2 of the Program will then identify the proposed outreach initiatives with the strongest regional buy-in to receive multi-year funding to deliver the outreach program.

“People in regional Australia are half as likely to attend a tertiary education institution as their city counterparts. We need to see this improve.

“Australian Government initiatives like establishing Regional University Centres have had positive impacts on improving higher education outcomes in regional Australia.

“This program can demonstrate to people in regional and remote areas that higher education is a legitimate and attainable goal and I hope to see education providers and community groups participate.”

Applications for Phase 1 will close on 14 March 2022 and more information is available at

 16 February 2022

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