New funding for low-SES students welcomed

New funding for low-SES students welcomed

16 Dec 2009

La Trobe Vice Chancellor welcomes new funding for students from low socio-economic backgrounds and calls for community support.

La Trobe University Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson said today that the Federal government's new pledge of millions of dollars to help students from low-socio-economic backgrounds is a welcome move that will open the door to education for many who would never have previously had the chance.

'I am delighted with Minister Gillard's announcement, particularly as the goal of greater low-SES participation in university education is also fundamental to La Trobe's mission,' said Professor Johnson.

'La Trobe already has one of the highest low-SES participation rates (approximately 17%) of any Australian university however, we want to expand further and open our doors to more students.

'Encouraging participation in higher education by capable students depite their financial circumstances is an important cornerstone of La Trobe's work, and there is strong alignment between our mission and the approach being taken by the Federal Government.

'But to make our mission a reality we need better resources and greater support for students. I believe today's announcement is moving squarely in the right direction,' said Professor Johnson.

Professor Johnson said that support for increased particpation will require greater cooperation between universities such as La Trobe, the community, alumni, business and Government.

'I am also appealing to individuals within the broader community for their support in helping mentor capable students and invite anyone interested in doing this to make direct contact with me,' said Professor Johnson.

The new Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) will assist students from low socio-economic backgrounds by allocating more than $433 million over four years, including $56 million to universities in 2010, up from $11 million in 2010 under the former program.

Universities will receive around $540 per low SES student in 2010, rising to around $1 400 in 2013, but the final figures will depend on actual enrolments.

The program includes more than $42 million in 2010 as a financial incentive to expand the university enrolment of students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

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