CEF and UNSW Offer Country Students Preview of University Life

Some of the students facilitated by the Country Education Foundation of Australia that attended the University of New South Wales Year 11 Regional Residential Program.

The Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF), in collaboration with the University of New South Wales (UNSW), has made it possible for dozens of aspiring country university students to see a university campus, with a fully subsidised trip to UNSW for its 2023 Year 11 Regional Residential Program.

The program, part of UNSW's Gateway Admission Pathway, ran between the 25th and 27th September, and was open to year 11 students who attend school at one of UNSW's Gateway Partner Schools, which features schools in low socioeconomic areas, primarily in regional NSW.

CEF, through its partnership with UNSW, was offered a number of places on the program, and worked with high schools across its footprint in regional NSW to offer places to year 11 students interested in pursuing university studies.

Thirty-seven students took advantage of this amazing opportunity, which covered their costs for transport, accommodation, and meals. Students travelled from as far as Broken Hill, as well as Canowindra, Coleambally, Forbes, Goulburn, Port Macquarie, Orange, Young, Moree, Narrabri, Parkes, Grenfell, Wauchope, West Wyalong and Willyama.

Students took the opportunity to learn about the university, the courses it offers, and all other benefits of studying there, and were chaperoned by UNSW staff and Ambassadors, with two CEF staff joining them as well.

The students also got to enjoy a two-night stay at Sydney's beautiful Coogee Beach, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and enjoyed a dinner on the first night where they got to hear from CEF alumni currently studying at UNSW.

UNSW Director, Access, Equity & Inclusion, Mary Teague, said the aim of the program was to build a connection to UNSW and confidence in regional students relocating to Sydney for their future university studies.

"Current UNSW student Ambassadors who are employed across our program are all students from regional areas who act as powerful role models by sharing their insights and experiences to motivate and support students as they navigate the prospect of attending a metro-based university," she said.

We look forward to continuing our purposeful partnership with the Country Education Foundation in supporting access and success for students from regional areas at UNSW.

– UNSW Director, Access, Equity & Inclusion, Mary Teague

UNSW Gateway Program Ambassador and CEF alumni, Imreet Singh, who is from Griffith, NSW, and studying a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine, said the program was invaluable for the students that attended.

"Many of the regional students I spoke to mentioned how eye-opening it was to see the possibilities and opportunities available to them through higher education, and some were actually considering higher education primarily because they saw other students from rural backgrounds undergoing the same journey," 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 almost 8000 individual grants and scholarships totalling over $17 million, with over 400 volunteers across its network of local foundations working hard to provide local students the support they need.

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