New Country Universities Centre partnership

Country Universities Centre partnership to enhance the future of regional study

A new strategic partnership between La Trobe University and the Country Universities Centre will enhance support for rural higher education students choosing to stay in their local community.

This unique partnership is a testament to the shared vision of improving low participation rates in higher education outside of metropolitan areas through a community-led approach.

La Trobe Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional), Associate Professor Melanie Bish, said this memorandum of understanding signifies the University’s commitment to leading access to higher education across rural Victoria.

“This partnership allows us to work collaboratively and achieve the shared vision of increasing participation in higher education in rural communities,” Associate Professor Bish said.

“By combining our resources and expertise, we can empower rural students, facilitate access to higher education and ultimately, make a lasting impact on their lives.”

The Country Universities Centre CEO, Chris Ronan, is excited about how this partnership can support Victorian regional communities to create their own place-based approach to higher education.

“Evidence shows that community-led higher education widens access to university and supports students to study and graduate in regional Australia,” Mr Ronan said.

“The partnership between the CUC and La Trobe will empower rural communities across Victoria to establish their own place-based initiatives like the CUC and have strong connections with the university.”

La Trobe has established connections with the Ovens Murray Country Universities Centre, comprising of Wangaratta, Corryong and Mansfield, through a shared outreach program designed to raise students’ awareness of university education. Higher education students in the Loddon Mallee region will soon benefit from a new Country Universities Centre in Swan Hill and there is an established Country Universities Centre in the Bass Coast.

Noting the Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education recently announced $66.9 million to establish up to 20 new Regional University Study Hubs, La Trobe University and Country Universities Centre look forward to working with any Victorian rural or regional community as they work through a process to determine if they seek to establish a centre.

Media: Jess Whitty,, 0481 383 817