A LACK of exposure to universities may be the reason regional and rural people attend university less than their metropolitan counterparts, La Trobe University regional pro vice-chancellor Hal Swerissen says.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and La Trobe University announced this week 20 new scholarships worth $36,000 would be awarded in 2013 to educationally disadvantaged students from rural and regional areas.
Representatives of the two institutions said the new scholarships were targeted at tackling the disparity between the amount of regional people attending university compared to metropolitan people.
Only 15 per cent of people aged 25 to 64 living in inner regional areas and 13 per cent in outer regional areas hold bachelor degrees, compared to 27 per cent of people living in major cities, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.
Professor Swerissen said this could be attributed to a lack of understanding in rural and regional communities about the benefits of university and tertiary qualifications.
“People in metropolitan areas generally have more exposure to universities and their parents are more likely to have gone to university,” he said.
Professor Swerissen said 50 per cent of students studying at La Trobe’s regional universities were the first to attend university in their family.
“For many people living in rural areas, it’s a big step to go to university,” he said.
Scholarship application forms can be downloaded from www.latrobe.edu.au/scholarships/new