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February 4, 2016

Gippsland’s Federation University Australia will use a Federal Government grant to learn more about the barriers facing disadvantaged students in accessing tertiary education.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the Turnbull Government’s investment under the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP) National Priority Pool projects would help more students from low-socio economic status backgrounds benefit from tertiary education.

“A university degree can open up new opportunities for country students, but unfortunately some students do not enjoy a level playing field when it comes to successfully completing that degree,” Mr Chester said.

“Students from disadvantaged backgrounds face extra challenges getting into and staying at university, which means they are not always able to reach their full potential – often through no fault of their own.

“This project will receive $149,500 in federal funding to identify successful approaches to increasing the success of low socio-economic status domestic students studying at regional universities. It will provide guidance about how to address gaps in current approaches.

“FedUni is renowned for its high rate of graduates finding full-time employment. Therefore, we need to ensure every student who attends FedUni has equal opportunity to complete their degree and have the best chance of entering the workforce.”

Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said Federation University Australia would receive three grants as part of 21 national priority pool projects being funded across Australia.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to working with Australian universities to ensure improved access to high-quality education and training for all Australian students no matter where they live and no matter their background,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This funding will open up new ways of helping people from disadvantaged circumstances get an education that expands their opportunities, particularly indigenous students and those living in regional and remote areas.”

Professor Marcia Devlin, Federation University Australia’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality), said the university was delighted to receive prestigious research grants from the Federal Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program National Priorities Pool.
“As a leading regional university, FedUni is committed to improving the tertiary study opportunities for students in our local communities,” Professor Devlin said.

“We will draw on the experiences of successful senior students at, and graduates from, regional universities, as well as on the views of employers and others in regional communities.
“It is timely that our HEPPP research project will focus on improving the retention of students within regional universities, as well as equity strategies for students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds.
“We look forward to working with partner universities in this vital research area.”
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