$8 million boost for regional NSW students as the Government expands Country Universities Centres - NSW Nationals

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$8 million boost for regional NSW students as the Government expands Country Universities Centres

The NSW Government has backed the expansion of the successful Country Universities Centres (CUC) initiative with an $8 million investment, which will allow more regional and rural university students to study close to home.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business, John Barilaro, said the centres would be modelled on the successful pilot in Cooma, with at least five other venues to be established over the next three years.

“The first Country Universities Centre began in Cooma in 2013 helping local students undertaking distance or online university courses study together in a centre offering the best quality facilities, technology and support staff,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Since it opened in 2013, the original CUC has provided facilities and services for more than 175 students undertaking tertiary studies.”

The students have accessed studies from 28 universities across 34 undergraduate and 23 postgraduate courses with a 95 per cent competition rate.

“We are committed to ensuring that regional students are given the option to live at home close to their family and friends while undertaking tertiary education of their choice, rather than having to relocate for study which can both disruptive and expensive,” Mr Barilaro added.

“This great idea has since been expanded to Young with the establishment of the Hilltops Universities Centre so I’m delighted to announce $8 million will be provided by the NSW Department of Industry to expand the CUC.”

Mr Barilaro said the CUC is currently assessing suitable locations for five regional hubs, which will be established in conjunction with local communities.

The “campus-feel” centres will provide local study spaces and include high-speed internet, video-conferencing, computer and print facilities, as well as workshops delivered by qualified local instructors.

“As well as the great personal benefits for students, this will also help reduce the brain drain from country regions to city areas and allow local businesses to access local people with the qualifications to meet their needs.”

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