The National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy framing paper targets the need for Australians outside major population centres to gain tertiary education and training, whether vocational or higher education, to be confident of a successful working and personal life. Take up and completion is lower, especially for higher education qualifications, than in the major cities.
Regional rural and remote (RRR) students face particular challenges due to the fewer study and training options available locally.
The IRU response below is aligned to the challenges set out in the Discussion paper. Our major proposals for action are:
1. increase the university funding cap for all additional enrolments at RRR campuses
2. target funding allocated for regional hubs to ensuring existing campuses function to their best, as well as to hubs
3. create an RRR program to encourage and reward the enrolment and progress of students from RRR areas. The program would parallel the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) and Indigenous Support Program (ISP)
4. increase the minimum level of financial student support for those needing to live away from home
5. use the next wave of research infrastructure investment to stimulate the whole Australian research system, intentionally hosting new infrastructure across many centres, distributing the positive spill-over effects of infrastructure
6. improve knowledge of education opportunities in RRR areas among potential international students.