Mums benefit from childcare support to study

For parents, returning to study can be a daunting idea.  But thanks to financial support in place and the added benefit of close-knit campus communities, studying rural health courses at uni is now much more achievable for parents.  Two La Trobe Rural Heath School students give an insight into their experience and share how their return to uni has inspired their kids.

Kara Devlin and Alison Cook are final year Bachelor of Nursing students at La Trobe’s Mildura Campus.  Both students received grants to support childcare and school fees, helping them manage financial constraints whilst on placement.  In 2020, 55 rural health students received a total of $72,049 in grant funding to support childcare and school fees enabling them to attend a regional campus and their clinical placements.

With three young children in tow, Kara says this financial support was key for her.

“I have three children, seven, five and two years old. My youngest was six months old when I started my Bachelor of Nursing. When I received the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Support Grant, it took a lot of financial stressors away.

“I completed a 6-week placement last semester, both in the emergency and mental health departments, and my childcare fees, school fees and out of hours school care fees were still due. The grant meant I could complete placement and continue on with my degree without worrying about those financial commitments.”

La Trobe’s Rural Health School has Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Student Support Grants available for students studying at one of their campuses in Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Shepparton and Mildura.  Students must be studying Nursing, Allied Health, Pharmacy or Psychology and have dependent children under the age of 16 to apply.  Grants are valued at up to $2400 and eligible students are reimbursed for childcare and school expenses.

Alison says if it wasn’t for her local university campus, she wouldn’t have ever gone to uni.

“When I started studying my boys were one and three years old.  The grant was a huge relief and helped me to pay for full time daycare whilst I was on placement.  As I have a young family, there was no option for me to move away to study.  If the La Trobe Mildura campus was not here, I would not have been able to study.”

Both Mums agrees it’s not just the financial support La Trobe provides that supports parents to study.

“I chose to study Nursing at La Trobe’s Mildura Campus because I had heard of their reputation and great response from previous nursing students. Most of the lecturers have children themselves or have had children, so they are extremely understanding.  Their support, compassion and knowledge are what has helped me get to where I am today, and I am forever grateful for that,” Kara says.

An added bonus to returning to study is the flow on effect it’s had on their children.

Alison's children, Riley and Levi
“I believe as a mature age student I am more determined and having lived experience that has helped me throughout my studies. Also, I see the benefits it has had on my son with his own homework from school.  He sees me doing my homework and wants to jump in and do some of his own with me,” Alison says.

Both Mums strongly encourage other parents to take the leap.

“Just do it!  I went in as a mature aged student and I have taken away so much from university.  I’m so happy I took the leap into my degree and now I have almost finished.  It really is an amazing experience and one you will never regret doing.”

Read more about the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Student Support Grants

To find out more about starting your career in rural health, check out our virtual Open Day library for on demand videos.