A group of regional universities will call on the Federal Government to create new incentives to attract city high school graduates to continue their studies in regional areas, with a major policy paper to be released on Wednesday.
The Regional Universities Network includes the University of Sunshine Coast, CQ University, Southern Cross University, and the University of Southern Queensland among others.
It will call on the government to include accommodation costs in regional areas under HECS-HELP loans, in order to attract more students to study in regional areas.
In a national launch of the policy on Wednesday morning, it will also recommend a new Regional Development and Innovation Initiative be created to recognise the role regional universities play in their local economies.
“RUN supports further incentives to encourage regional students to study at regional universities and potentially attract metropolitan students to the institutions,” the report reads.
The policy will also call for a national partnership to be created to link high school graduates in regional areas to their local university to improve Year 12 and tertiary education completion rates in regional areas.
“Year 12 completions in regional Australia are 20% less than in capital cities.
“Lifting Year 12 completion rates will increase participation at regional universities,” the report reads.
“Initiatives to target regional schools through linkages with regional universities assist in building human capital in the regions.”
The report will also make several more recommendations on how to improve the numbers of students at regional universities among other issues.