TWENTY $36,000 La Trobe University scholarships will be offered this year to students entering university for the first time.
The new scholarships are the result of a partnership between the university and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
They are open to mature-aged students and any school leaver who achieved an ATAR of over 80 at a school in Victoria or southern New South Wales.
The recipients will receive $12,000 for three years to cover accommodation and expenses over three years, and can be used for any course at the Bendigo or Melbourne campus.
The students will be selected by a representatives of Bendigo Bank and La Trobe and will be based on academic excellence, community involvement and educational disadvantage.
La Trobe University Vice Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the scholarships were part of the university’s aim to increase the number of people from regional and rural areas studying university degrees.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 census data shows while 27 per cent of people aged 25 to 64 living in major cities hold a bachelor’s degree, the figure drops to 15 per cent of people living in inner regional areas and 13 per cent in outer regional areas.
“We know that these groups are among the most seriously under-represented of all students attending university in Australia, and this is something we want to address through our partnership,” Professor Dewar said.
“There is growing demand from families and the community for a quality university education but for many in the regions who are first in their family, the obstacles can appear daunting.”
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chairman Robert Johanson said the new scholarships would increase educational opportunities around the region.
“Not only does it provide an option for local students to gain a university education at La Trobe campuses in Bendigo or Melbourne, it supports a strategy to extend quality higher education provision to Victorian students,” he said.