Innovative La Trobe University scholarships are boosting the chances of success for students from city and country alike.
With people in rural and regional areas significantly less likely to attend university, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and La Trobe have joined forces in providing up to twenty new $36,000 scholarships to support outstanding students entering university for the first time.
Under another scheme, the University has ramped up its efforts to attract high-achieving students by introducing Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence and Access Scholarships.
These are available for students with high ATARs (Australian Tertiary Admission Rankings) in one of 29 target courses. They provide each student with an annual $6,000 living allowance for up to three years and $1,500 to help them study abroad.
Best and brightest from all backgrounds
The two scholarship announcements follow the University’s new ‘Future Ready’ strategy, which targets the best and brightest students from all social backgrounds, to increase enrolments over the next five years, from 26,000 to 33,000.
The strategy, to enhance excellence and innovation in education and research by focusing on key issues facing society and the environment, aims to place La Trobe among the three top-ranking universities in the state, and top 300 in the world, by 2017.
Vice-Chancellor John Dewar said the new categories of scholarships broaden the range of assistance already available.
‘The Excellence Scholarships will help students who already show great potential to reach even greater heights academically by reducing their financial burden, allowing them to focus on their study.
‘La Trobe is known for its diverse student body and for assisting our disadvantaged and “First in Family” students. The Access Scholarships will ensure that this diversity is maintained.’
Professor Dewar said the new scholarships respond to growing demands made on today’s students, who often have to balance the responsibility of a job and paying rent while maintaining a demanding study schedule and other commitments.
He met with seven of the winners at a recent award reception and said the scholarships were well received. ‘La Trobe is home to intelligent, committed students who want to make a real difference to their world.’
Scholarships holders, he added, are also able to take part in the Deans’ Scholars Program, which provides mentors and opportunities for students to extend their academic and personal capabilities.
Success for our communities
Professor Dewar said the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Scholarships are for school leavers who studied VCE or HSC in Victoria or southern New South Wales. Mature-aged applicants may also be considered.
Almost 600 applications had been received at the time this article was posted. ‘We want our communities to succeed and we want the students from these communities to succeed,’ Professor Dewar said.
‘The further we travel from major cities,’ he stressed, ‘the less likely we are to find people with higher education degrees.’
Statistics from 2006 show that 27 per cent of people aged 25-64 who lived in major cities held a Bachelor degree or above.
This figure declined to 15 per cent for Australians living in inner regional areas, to 13 per cent for outer regional areas – and down to only 10 per cent for very remote areas.
‘There is growing demand from families and the community for a quality university education, but for many in the regions who are first in family the obstacles can appear daunting,’ Professor Dewar said.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Chairman, Robert Johanson, said the scholarships will be of particular benefit to extending education programs at the University’s Bendigo and Melbourne campuses.
‘Bendigo has a proud tradition of being a premier university and learning city and the Bank’s partnership with La Trobe University seeks to cement this future for quality higher education across regional Victoria and southern NSW,’ Mr Johanson said.
Significant help for winners
Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence and Access Scholarship winner Linh Vo from Broadmeadows, who is studying Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery, said she was ‘honoured and delighted to have been given this opportunity’.
‘It will enable me to devote more time to my studies, help with daily living cost and cover some of my HECS fees’, she added. ‘I want to enhance my capabilities as a learner and challenge myself, and I believe La Trobe will help me do this due to its positive and supportive environment.’
Bachelor of Arts student Katherine Arditto from Ivanhoe said she looked forward to learning more about psychology, politics and Spanish.
‘I hope to one day study overseas in Spain. The significant financial assistance will allow me to focus more on my education and give me the opportunity to broaden my studies internationally, help with daily living cost and also reduce my HECS debt.’ – Ernest Raetz with Tom O’Callaghan and Dian Lipiarski