A SCHOLARSHIP program is putting Bendigo on university students' radars, with at least two recipients unlikely to have made the move without the incentive.
Lockington paramedicine student Jemma McNair had never thought of going to Bendigo for university before being encouraged to apply for the Destination Australia Program.
Nor had Melbourne resident Sophie Shi, who was moving to study dentistry at the La Trobe University Bendigo campus.
"I think, being regional, everyone sort of overlooks it," Ms McNair said.
The scholarship program aimed to entice students to regional Australian tertiary education providers.
La Trobe's Bendigo campus was awarded 67 Destination Australia scholarships - more than any other university campus, nationwide.
Ms McNair and Ms Shi were among the first round of Bendigo awardees, each of whom will receive $15,000 a year for up to four years to support their studies.
The students said the scholarship would enable them to devote more time to their coursework and alleviate the financial burdens associated with student life.
Ms McNair had previously been planning to take a gap year to work and travel. She had expected to move to Melbourne to study.
Ms Shi had applied to study at La Trobe, but wasn't originally considering the Bendigo campus.
- Related: 67 more scholars set for Bendigo
Head of campus Robert Stephenson said it wasn't always apparent what great opportunities there were to build fantastic careers in regional cities.
"I think a lot of people think if they want a great career they have to move to the city, and in fact that's not the case," he said.
"I think you would see all across our regional cities there are some fantastic opportunities for people, particularly as we talk about some of the skills shortages.
"There are jobs going begging. If I look at our new Masters of Professional Psychology, in some instances that will address the skills shortage in places that have been advertising for five years and haven't been able to get any applicants."
He said it was important the university tried not just to provide that skilled workforce, but to make sure people were aware of the opportunities were and that they could take advantage of them regionally.
"We know 75 - 80 per cent of our graduates actually stay and work regionally," Mr Stephenson said.
"If a student goes to Melbourne, it's something less than 30 per cent [that] return to regional areas."
Mr Stephenson anticipated the Destination Australia scholarships would help students make a decision about being able to come to university.
He said enrolments at the campus were good, with engineering among the strongest growth areas.
"Our medical training pathway, the Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Medical), is up 50 per cent on last year's numbers," Mr Stephenson said.
"Our Master of Internet of Things has had a really strong response internationally, so we're looking forward to bringing a lot more international students to Bendigo, as well.
Enrolments through the Apply Direct process were up significantly on last year, Mr Stephenson said.
"Graduate nursing programs have changed from VTAC to direct entry this year, so that's been one of the really significant changes," he said.