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The Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) has made it possible for dozens of aspiring country students to see a university campus, with fully subsidised trips to three of Charles Sturt University’s (Charles Sturt) campuses for their open days in August.

Thirty-three students took advantage of this amazing opportunity given to them by the CEF, which covered their costs for transport, accommodation, and meals in partnership with Charles Sturt.

The experience had students visit Charles Sturt’s Wagga Wagga, Albury and Bathurst campuses, with 16 students checking out Wagga Wagga, seven students seeing Albury, and 10 students experiencing Bathurst.

CEF transported students from many different towns to experience the open days, including Young, Grenfell, Forbes, Parkes, Cootamundra, Goulburn, Gundagai, Coolah and Gilgandra, to experience what university life is like at Charles Sturt.

Students took the opportunity to learn about each campus, the courses they offer, and all other benefits of studying there.

CEF Manager of Partnerships Hilary Matchett, who organised the trips, said it was great to give country students the chance to travel to each campus, who otherwise may not have been able to go.

CEF are excited to partner with Australia’s leading regional university, Charles Sturt University, to give the opportunity to regional students to access their Open Days across three of their campuses. Students made the most of experiencing all that Charles Sturt can offer, from hands on learning in their state-of-the-art labs and facilities, to chatting to academic staff about course options, and accessing affordable and vibrant on-campus accommodation options.

– CEF Manager of Partnerships Hilary Matchett

“These experience camps offer more than a chance to see a university campus; they give regional students the chance to connect with like-minded peers, hopefully to then become friends for life.

Our thanks go to the staff and students at Charles Sturt, who showed incredible hospitality and guidance to our CEF students.”

 Cootamundra High School student Logan Johnson took up the opportunity to experience Charles Sturt’s Wagga Wagga campus.

She said she learned a whole lot more about Charles Sturt’s range of degrees and accommodation options than what she thought she would before the trip.

The Wagga Wagga CSU Open Day opened my eyes to all the different degrees that I hadn’t considered before. I had a great day and would recommend to all year 11 and 12 students to attend a CSU open day.

Cootamundra High School student Logan Johnson

Charles Sturt partnered with CEF this year to enable it to offer students the opportunity to attend its open days, citing a desire to assist regional youth with their university aspirations.

Charles Sturt University Associate Director, Future Student Engagement and University Events, Lorraine Ryan, said through its partnership with CEF, doors of opportunity had opened for aspiring students from rural areas, enabling them to step onto its campuses and immerse themselves in the world of higher education.

“These fully subsidised experiences not only removed financial barriers but also bridged the gap between dreams and reality. As 33 eager minds explored Charles Sturt’s campuses in Wagga Wagga, Albury, and Bathurst, they didn’t just witness the physical spaces but delved into a realm of possibilities – discovering courses, engaging with academics, and experiencing university life firsthand,” she said.

This partnership, a fusion of CEF’s unwavering commitment and Charles Sturt’s visionary support, has not only kindled academic aspirations but has sown the seeds of engagement and aspiration among students. We are deeply committed to supporting our regions and enabling these opportunities.

Lorraine Ryan, Charles Sturt University Associate Director, Future Student Engagement and University Events

The CEF is a national for-purpose organisation that helps rural and regional youth aged between 16 and 25 access post-school education, training and employment through grants, scholarships, support services and resources.

Students that live in or attend school in the locations of each local foundation, of which there are currently 45 across Australia, are eligible to apply for grant and scholarship funding that they can put towards various expenses related to their education, such as accommodation and equipment.

Students granted funding by their local foundation are also considered for extra funding through the CEF of Australia’s national ‘CEF Extra’ program, which works with university and philanthropic partners to provide scholarships where students meet a scholarship’s eligibility criteria.

Since its birth in 1993 the CEF has awarded over 7000 individual grants and scholarships totalling over $15 million, with over 400 volunteers across its network of local foundations working hard to provide local students the support they need.

For more information on the CEF please visit www.cef.org.au or phone 1300 652 144.

Charles Sturt University is a long term partner of CEF, having offered scholarships to its students for the last five years through the Three Rivers Department of Rural Health. It provides the CEF annual funding to distribute to 18 of its its local foundations, across inland NSW, to offer to students enrolled to study a health related degree at Charles Sturt. To be eligible, students must have already been awarded a grant by their local CEF foundation.

Joshua Matic

Author Joshua Matic

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