LESS than half the number of young people living in rural and regional Australia have a university degree compared to metropolitan counterparts, but a federal government strategy aims to change that.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan will reveal the 10-year strategy today at the National Press Club with the government to consult on the 33 actions that could involve policy changes, require possible sector reform and budget considerations.
"The biggest takeout is that we need a real focus to address the country-city divide," Mr Tehan said.
An expert panel led by former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine formed the strategy and made several recommendations to the government, including introducing a commissioner responsible for regional, rural and remote education.
"They would fundamentally be making sure that regional and rural education is on the agenda for whoever is in the government federally," Dr Napthine said.
"Just in about every measure in education there is a gap between the city and the country and that has to be overcome."
He said the strategy's main aim was to improve access, affordability, and outcomes for students from rural, regional and remote areas.
"We know a lot of young people ... take gap years because they want to get work and money behind them before they go and when they take the gap year they don't end up going to tertiary education," Dr Napthine said.
"If we can improve the affordability we will get more people not only taking up higher education, but also completing it."
He said the strategy would now provide guidance to the federal government to invest in and improve educational opportunities and results for students.
Mr Tehan said the government would look to build aspiration to go to university among regional and rural Australians.
"Almost 90 per cent of university graduates are in full-time work with a median salary of $70,000 within three years of graduating and our government believes that every Australian, no matter where they live, should have the opportunity to get a degree that leads to a good job," he said.
"Especially where the global economy is heading, the greater the level of study had, the better your chances of earning a higher income."