CENTRAL Victoria has won out of a federal government scholarship initiative, with almost three-quarters of La Trobe University's candidates to be based in Bendigo.
Sixty-seven of the 94 Destination Australia scholarships awarded to the university were for the Bendigo campus.
It was believed to be the largest single number of scholarships awarded to any campus through the program, which is intended to attract students to regional Australia.
La Trobe University Bendigo Head of Campus Rob Stephenson said the scholarships represented an incredible vote of confidence in the community and the campus.
He said Bendigo's bid for the scholarship positions had talked about the imperative to address skills shortages within the region.
However, it was not yet known what fields of study the scholarships in Bendigo would target.
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Mr Stephenson said a set proportion of the scholarships would be open to international students. Most of the positions were targeted at domestic applicants.
He said the scholarships represented a significant increase in the number of students coming to regional campuses, particularly Bendigo.
"It is a fantastic opportunity for us to get more students into regional areas," Mr Stephenson said.
La Trobe's 94 Destination Australia scholarships are valued at more than $1.5 million a year.
The university said it had received more scholarships for students at its regional campuses through the program than any other Australian tertiary education provider.
In addition to improving student numbers at regional campuses, La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the Destination Australia scholarships would provide a welcome boost to regional economies.
Expected benefits included helping to address skills shortages.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Richard Speed said the scholarships were a step in the right direction.
"We know that increasing the number of students being trained in our regional campuses means more of our graduates will remain in our regional communities, where skills are most needed for the economic future," he said. The federal government offered almost 1180 Destination Australia scholarships nationwide.
Education minister Dan Tehan said regional Australia had a lot to offer as a study destination, including smaller class sizes, and cheaper cost of living.
"International education made a $35 billion contribution to the economy last year and we want regional communities to share the benefits," he said.
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