The Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) has made it possible for dozens of aspiring country university students to see a university campus, with a fully subsidised trip to Swinburne University for its open day on Sunday the 30th July.
Ten year 11 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 Swinburne.
Students were collected from Deniliquin, NSW, and Kerang, Warracknabeal, Balmoral and Ararat, Victoria, and transported to Melbourne to experience what university life is like at Swinburne.
Students took the opportunity to learn about the university, the courses it offers, and all other benefits of studying there, with Swinburne Student Equity Ambassadors guiding them on tours of the campus, and to course sessions that each chose to attend.
They also checked out the Exercise & Sports Science labs, TV studios and saw Trimble Robots strut around campus. They had the chance to learn about topics such as workplace learning, study abroad, and living on campus.
They also enjoyed an exclusive dinner on the Saturday night with CEF supported students already studying at Swinburne.
CEF Manager of Partnerships Hilary Matchett, who organised the trip, said it was great to give country students the chance to travel to Swinburne, who otherwise may not have been able to go.
Ararat College student Aiden Flavell said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to attend university prior to the trip, but thanks to the experience, is now more interested than ever.
James Bould, a CEF-supported student studying at Swinburne this year, helped guide students around during the open day.
He said he recommended all year 11 and 12 students to attend at least one university open day to get an idea of what university is like.
“I had been incredibly lucky to attend both the Swinburne and Monash open days in the latter half of my senior year and the value, especially rural students, gain from these experiences are crucial in both encouraging university attendance and tackle the anxieties that moving from regional to urban settings present,” he said.
Swinburne has been an educational partner of CEF for seven years, providing generous funds to support regional and rural students studying at Swinburne.
It provides co-funding for students studying there that were awarded funding through their local CEF foundation.
Melissa Lowe, Student Equity Manager at Swinburne University, said Swinburne supported this initiative to improve access for young people from rural and regional Australia.
The Country Education Partnership, a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for the provision of high-quality education within rural and remote Victoria, was instrumental in assisting CEF organise this experience, with some students coming from towns where there is currently no local CEF foundation.
CEP CEO Mark McLay said it was thrilled to assist CEF in promoting its experience in towns in regional Victoria, where students often have hurdles in getting to Melbourne themselves.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for rural students, and we thank CEF for organising this event,” he said.
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.
It currently only has one local foundation in Victoria, in Warracknabeal, and Mr McLay said his organisation was prepared to assist CEF in expanding to more areas.
“Further expansion of CEF’s work into rural and regional Victoria will provide increased opportunities for the young people from these areas,” he said.
For more information on the CEF please visit www.cef.org.au or phone 1300 652 144.