$720,000 in scholarships available

La Trobe University will continue its partnership with the Bendigo Bank to offer 20 student scholarships - each worth $36,000 - in a bid to boost tertiary education participation in regional areas.

The scholarships are valued at $12,000 per year for three years and are being offered to school leavers who studied VCE or HSC in rural or regional Victoria and southern New South Wales. Mature-age students will also be considered.  

Applications for the scholarships, worth a total of $720,000, opened on Monday 1 December 2014.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, said the highly successful scholarship program was now in its third year and was increasing opportunities for rural and regional students to access tertiary education.  

'We want our rural and regional communities to grow and expand and we want students from these communities to succeed,' Professor Dewar said.

'The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that half the number of regional Victorians aged 25-39 hold higher education qualifications compared to their Melbourne counterparts and we want to close that gap.

'There is growing demand from rural and regional communities for university-educated workers and this scholarship program helps young Victorians gain the local jobs they want through study at La Trobe.'

Bendigo Bank Executive of Retail Dennis Bice said rural and regional students often faced significant financial barriers to attend university, particularly when they had to leave home to study.

'At Bendigo Bank we are always working to create successful communities and we believe that starts from the ground up, by investing in our young people,' Mr Bice said.

'We want to give gifted students the chance to fulfil their tertiary aspirations, and maybe one day they will be able to bring these skills back to their local community.'

Students from rural or regional Victoria and southern New South Wales who begin an undergraduate degree at the University's Melbourne or Bendigo campuses in 2015 can apply for the scholarship.

Each year, La Trobe University will provide a $6,000 credit for on-campus accommodation, while the Bendigo Bank will contribute $6,000 cash for study expenses. 

Horsham local Josh Millward received a scholarship in 2014 and said it changed his life. It not only allowed him to study computer science and electronic engineering, it also ensured he could afford to live on campus.  

'The closest university is 190km away and if courses you want to study aren't offered there, the next closest campus is a 300km drive from home,' Josh said.  

'As a student, if you don't have a lot of money behind you the cost of accommodation and fees can mean you're unable to go to uni because you can't afford it.

'Without the La Trobe University and Bendigo Bank Scholarship, I honestly don't think I would be able to support myself.' 

Bringing his skills back to the Horsham community is an important goal for Josh.  

For more information on the scholarship, visit the website.

Media contact:

Leah Humphrys, Media and Communications Officer

T + 61 3 9479 5353 E l.humphrys@latrobe.edu.au

Image: Flickr