And it will be vital to enable further gains in university attainment disparities between Australians living in regional areas compared to capital city dwellers.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said people living in regional Australia remained half as likely to have a university qualification as people living in the major cities.
“There are clearly additional challenges and financial pressures on students who need to relocate vast distances to go to university,” she said.
“Despite these challenges, the removal of caps on student places over the past decade helped many more talented Australians from regional areas to have the chance of a university education.”
“Under the demand-driven system, the number of regional and remote undergraduate students has grown by 53,000 – a 48 per cent jump since 2008. That’s equivalent to the total student population at one of the nation’s largest universities.”
The total number of regional and remote students rose from 110,000 in 2008 to 163,000 in 2016.
“This demonstrates that, despite the challenges, there is a clear desire from many regional Australians to pursue a university education and the opportunities it can unlock.”
Universities Australia commends Emeritus Professor Dr John Halsey on the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education published on Friday afternoon.
We also commend the Turnbull Government on commissioning the review.
Over the last year, Dr Halsey consulted widely with regional communities across Australia on how to enhance educational opportunity for regional students.
Notably, his report trains a spotlight on the particular needs and challenges of students from remote, rural and regional areas to access a university education.
“UA commends Dr Halsey on putting forward further policy ideas to consolidate the gains of the past decade and overcome continuing regional barriers to participation.”