Did you know there is a persistent gap between regional and metro participation in higher education? The gap is stark. And it’s widening.
In Australia, just under half of all 25-to-34-year-olds living in cities have a degree. But for young people living in outer regional areas, that rate drops to just 21 per cent. For those in remote areas, the figure falls to as low as 16 per cent.
As the education gap widens, regional students risk falling behind their city peers. One such student was Inderpreet.
Inderpreet grew up in a small town in South Australia, before moving to Shepparton in Victoria for high school. A rural kid through and through, going to university had always been her dream.
“I was a very nervous student. Going to uni was always my goal, but I didn’t have much information. I was very stressed about whether I’d get the marks. Getting into university seemed very competitive, very hard and very unknown.”
La Trobe’s Pathway Programs are transformative for students like Inderpreet. Inspired by successful participation-focused regional programs in the US, they help students in their final years of high school develop fundamental life and study skills.
Inderpreet was one of the first students to complete La Trobe University’s Bradford Shepparton Pathway Program. She credits the program with making university feel attainable, and for teaching her a range of personal and professional skills.
“Doing the Pathway Program gave me the sense that reaching university is something normal people can achieve. The staff taught me skills like goal setting, time management and how to de-stress from the pressures of Year 12. And the uni student mentors gave me insight into what uni was going to be like. They were very influential for me.”
100 per cent of donations will go toward expanding La Trobe University’s Pathway Programs into new areas, where it will directly support students from rural, regional and remote communities:
- $100 pays for a regional student to attend an intensive introduction day to university
- $300 covers the cost of a single mentoring session for a regional student, to develop the study skills they need for university
- $1,000 contributes to a wellbeing workshop to help regional students manage the demands and pressures of VCE/HSC
- $2,500 funds access to the Pathway Program for a regional student for one year
Today, Inderpreet is studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus. She’s passionate about the hands-on experience she’s gaining on the way to her medical career.
Inderpreet’s experience is a powerful reminder of the essential and enduring benefits gifts can have – not just for a student like Inderpreet, but for the regional Victorian communities they call home.
Because when students like Inderpreet graduate, they become strong role models to those around them. They become the highly skilled professionals and passionate local leaders their communities need.
Inderpreet sums it up best:
“Donors make a big difference. You’re helping someone who may think they can’t get into uni achieve their dreams and goals, giving them a strong base so they can excel even more. Most rural kids like me, we want to stay in a rural area. Having rural kids study and work in rural areas helps those areas flourish. It’s important for us and it benefits the community.”
When you bridge the education gap for regional students like Inderpreet, you pave the road for an entire community to thrive – generation after generation.