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Each year, Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) partners with leading universities from across the country to provide much needed additional financial and transitional support for rural and regional youth choosing to undertake tertiary education.

Read on to find out how these partnerships work, the valuable benefit they provide to students and how Griffith University in Queensland chooses to partner with CEF.


For most rural and regional youth attending university, the costs are substantial, both financially and socially.

They are required to move significant distances away from family and friends – meaning they need to pay for travel and accommodation, and have to establish new social networks, none of which is easy  at 18 years of age.

Just like CEF, Australian universities are committed to improving the education of rural and regional students, and know this cohort is underrepresented in their institutions.


Financial Support

To improve enrolment and completion rates, universities partner with CEF by providing ‘co-funding’ to students attending their university who have received a CEF local grant. This funding provides direct, additional monies to students to assist with costs such as accommodation, travel and textbooks.

Each education partner pledges an annual amount of financial assistance to CEF students, either matched dollar for dollar, or up to the overall capped amount annually.

This additional money is then given to the local foundations supporting the students, who administer the additional funds in the same way as a local grant.

Additional Support

Our university partners also realise that social and transitional support during this time is just as important as financial support.

Through these collaborations, students are also provided opportunities to connect with other CEF recipients at their university and with rural and regional specific services.

Co-funding example 1:
If there is funding available to match local grant amounts, a CEF supported student who receives a grant of $2,000 will then also receive $2,000 from the education partner university.

Co-funding example 2:
If there are more students supported that pledged funding from the university, the amount allocated is a percentage of the grant, to ensure as many students as possible receive additional support.

Each year, university partners also sponsor online CEF resources such as the ‘Make it Possible’ Hub and CEF Scholarships Guide, with the knowledge and understanding that as much information and inspiration as possible is provided to regional youth to encourage to uptake of post-school education.


Established in 2015, the partnership between CEF and Griffith University provides additional support to CEF supported students through financial assistance and other programs.

Since inception, the partnership has provided almost $40,000 in direct financial support to 27 CEF students attending Griffith University.

The university further displays their commitment to rural and regional students and to CEF by sponsoring the CEF Scholarships Guide in 2021, and having sponsored the University Survival Guide in 2016 and 2017.

CEF Chief Executive Officer, Juliet Petersen says continued partnerships with universities and colleges across Australia is a testament to the CEF model. “We are very fortunate to have education partners like Griffith University, who place such importance on the education of our rural and regional youth, and who understand the significance of community in raising aspirations and enabling access to tertiary education.”


There is no better way to demonstrate the importance of these partnerships than with student stories. Below are the experiences of Bonnie and Hudson, 2020 beneficiaries of the Griffith University partnership.

Bonny Colling

Local Foundation:
CEF Macleay Valley


Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Psychological Science

Hudson Izzard

Local Foundation:
CEF Canowindra


Bachelor of Physiotherapy

First in her family to attend university, Bonny grew up on the NSW mid north coast in Kempsey, a town she says ‘had about 5 traffic lights, it was such a small town, everyone knew just about everyone.’

The grant and co-funding received from CEF Macleay Valley and Griffith University allowed Bonny to stay afloat in 2020, providing financial relief and allowing her to focus on her study and “make everyone around me proud.” This is something she is absolutely doing, receiving Distinctions in three of her courses in her first trimester of study.

She says being away from family for so long and closed borders making travel difficult, it was a struggle to be alone.

There have been many times where I have considered deferring and going home because the loneliness is too much but, I am so glad I stayed.

Bonny’s advice for incoming rural and regional students?

“Don’t be afraid! Participate in everything! Show up to everything! Everyone is just as scared as you, and eager to make friends.”

An avid camper, cricketer, golfer and guitarist, Hudson grew up on a small property on the outskirts of Canowindra in the Central West of NSW. The oldest of five children, he is proud to be the first in his family to attend university.

Hudson set himself up perfectly for university success. An ATAR of 94.15 saw him named Dux of 2019 at Canowindra High School and, he was also the Cabonne Australia Day Youth Ambassador that same year.

Like all CEF and Griffith University funding recipients, Hudson is very grateful for the support which has helped him to purchase necessities like textbooks and uniforms for his study. Like so many, the biggest challenge in 2020 was studying online.

I have essentially been required to teach myself a number of complex topics without the in-person assistance.

Hudson’s advice for incoming rural and regional students?

Make the most of the opportunities that present themselves because you truly never know what doors may open as a result.


Best playlist for concentrating?
Paradise Club

Favourite place for coffee or tea?
Beach Café, Surfers Paradise

Last book you read?

Fantasy study group?
The Wombats; Steve Jobs; Donald Trump; Kylie Jenner and Scott Morrison

How would you spend your last $10?
The biggest coffee life can buy


Best playlist for concentrating?
Ed Sheeran

Favourite place for coffee or tea?
The beach

Last book you read?
The Crucible

Fantasy study group?
Elon Musk; Nelson Mandela; Albert Einstein; Michael Jordan and Ed Sheeran

How would you spend your last $10?
A chicken schnitzel


Author Nicole

CEF Engagement & Development

More posts by Nicole

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