Release type: Media Release


Government helps rural and regional students attend university


Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations

The most disadvantaged rural and regional students will now have more opportunity to attend university following the announcement of details of new grants under the Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, today announced the selection criteria for new grants to help rural and regional students meet the costs of university and released the report of the Rural and Regional Taskforce led by Professor Tony Vinson.

Under the $20 million Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund, students from areas other than major capital cities, commencing a bachelor degree in 2011 and experiencing severe financial hardship, will be able to apply for a $3,000 one-off grant to assist in undertaking their university degree.

In March 2010, after extensive negotiations with the Coalition and cross-benchers, the Parliament passed a package of reforms to student income support, including Youth Allowance, to create a fairer system for more students and to ensure increased support for those who need it most.

The creation of the $20 million Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund was proposed by the Australian Greens and was one element of the Parliamentary agreement to support the package of reforms.

“Earlier this year I set up the Rural and Regional Taskforce to advise me on assistance to be provided under the Fund. I have received the Taskforce’s report and accepted all of their recommendations,” Senator Evans said.

The Fund will help more rural and regional students from low socio-economic backgrounds to go to university.

The first round of the fund will provide $5 million with applications expected to open in January 2011.

The Fund is additional to benefits that rural and regional students already have available to them, including benefits under the Government’s student income support reform package.

A copy of the Taskforce’s report and details on selection criteria for accessing grants are available at