La Trobe University is reminding school leavers of its new Regional Benefits Program, as many face decisions at change of preference time.
The program rewards regional students with a minimum ATAR of 80 with a scholarship of $2000 per year for the duration of their course when they study at one of La Trobe's regional campuses - Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton or Albury-Wodonga. This rises to $5000 for regional students with an ATAR over 95. La Trobe will also offer these high-achievers a guaranteed a place in the course of their choice running at any regional campus, subject to meeting course requirements.
The program also gives students access to a range of exclusive opportunities - including leadership development seminars, career support, and priority access to industry mentoring and work placements. Students will also receive support to help take up international study opportunities.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (regional), Dr Guinever Threlkeld said the initiative aims to reduce the number of students going to metropolitan areas, and give students facing financial hardship every opportunity to attend university.
We believe that financial hardship should never be a barrier to universityDr Guinever Threlkeld
"We believe that financial hardship should never be a barrier to university, and we are doing everything we can to ensure regional students fulfill their higher education goals," he said. "This new Regional Benefits Program represents a commitment of over $1 million, which will go directly to high-achieving regional students - many of whom might not otherwise be able to attend university.
"The program complements other initiatives we already have in place to attract students from rural and regional areas, including our successful Aspire program, which recognises community excellence with an early conditional offer and study support and our Destination Australian Scholarships offering up to $15,000 per year to students for the duration of the course up to four years"
Dr Threlkeld said the Regional Benefits Program will help regional Victoria retain some of the state's best and the brightest students - to study and then, eventually, to work. "With rural workforce shortages across the country in professions such as dentistry and engineering, keeping these students in the bush is vital for the future of our regional cities and towns."