A PROGRAM paying high achievers to study regionally has been well-received at La Trobe University's latest open day, the head of Bendigo campus says.
The university wants to start paying regional school-leavers to study in regional areas in a bid to halt the "brain drain" to big cities from next year.
Students with ATAR scores above 80 (out of 100) will get $2000 while those with results above 95 will get $5000.
Open Day visitors' reaction to the idea had been "really positive", head of campus Rob Stephenson said.
"The percentage of people in regional areas with bachelor-degree qualifications or greater is really low compared to metropolitan areas," he said.
People aged 18 to 34-years-old are two to three times more likely to hold a bachelor degree if they live in metropolitan areas, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
"We are trying to encourage more students to take up opportunities in regional areas," Mr Stephenson said.
The scholarships will come with opportunities for overseas study and leadership programs, Mr Stephenson said.
"So we think there are a whole bunch of advantages for students who are wondering if higher education is for them, and whether there are opportunities regionally," he said.
La Trobe was yet to finalise estimates about how many people attended Bendigo's Open Day but Mr Stephenson said it felt very busy on campus.
"As I walked around the campus talking to people in different areas, the only times they were quiet were when they had information sessions on and everyone was going to hear a bit more detail," he said.
Many were keen to have a look at the new engineering and technology building.
It, along with new equipment and research labs, opened a week-and-a-half ago, Mr Stephenson said.
The campus had been without an engineering building for several years after the original was knocked down to make way for a $50 million redevelopment project.
"So to have this one finished and open in time for Open Day was sensational," Mr Stephenson said.
"People wanted to know about the opportunities across the civil and industrial engineering degrees, and how that matches with the skills needed by some of the employers in Bendigo."
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