At least five additional Country Universities Centres will be opened in regional NSW to give regional students access to the best universities in Australia.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills and Regional NSW John Barilaro announced the NSW Liberals and Nationals in Government will invest an additional $8 million into the expansion of the Country Universities Centres.
The new funding will be used to open at least five additional locations and expand on existing and developing Centres in Cooma, Broken Hill, Goulburn, Moree/Narrabri, Grafton and Griffith/Leeton.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Country Universities Centres create a campus-like experience that gives regional students access to the best universities in Australia.
“Since the establishment of the first Country University Centre in Cooma five years ago, the centres have supported over 430 students, studying 135 different degrees, at 35 universities,” Mr Barilaro said.
“What I love about the Country Universities Centre model is that it really works – giving students in regional NSW the opportunity to complete a degree and start a career without having to leave their home town.
“We had a vision to make sure higher education was accessible to all students, regardless, whether they’re from Coogee or Cooma, and we’re now seeing that vision come to life right across the State.
“Students should not be disadvantaged just because they live in regional NSW; they should be able to stay close to their family and friends without undertaking the disruptive and expensive act of relocating to the city,” Mr Barilaro added.
Mr Barilaro also said the Country Universities Centres will assess suitable locations for five new regional hubs, which will be established in collaboration with local communities.
The “campus-feel” centres will provide local study spaces with high-speed internet, video-conferencing, computer and print facilities, as well as workshops delivered by qualified local instructors.
“As well as the great personal benefits for students, this will also help reduce the ‘brain drain’ from country regions to city areas, and will allow local businesses to access local people with the qualifications to meet their needs.”
Country Universities Centre CEO, Duncan Taylor, is pleased the NSW Government has backed in what he believes to be a winning formula.
“The NSW Government has allowed us to expand a service that we know is inspiring the local community to achieve their dream careers and pursue their true interests,” Mr Taylor said.
“97 percent of our students attribute their increased success to their local CUC. We look forward to growing this model, while shrinking the disparity in tertiary education between country and metropolitan students.”