Maranoa Country Universities Centre (CUC) officially opened its doors today, providing more opportunities for local students to access tertiary education and training closer to home.
The Australian Government has provided more than $1.3 million to help establish the centre at the Roma Community Hub – one of nine additional centres funded under the $74.2 million Regional University Centres program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said CUC Maranoa was providing a crucial service to regional, rural and remote students.
“The CUC Maranoa will provide a study sanctuary where students from any Australian university can access high-speed internet, state-of-the-art computing and wraparound student support,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Studying online via distance can be isolating. Students who use the CUC Maranoa belong to a community of like-minded individuals who can support each other throughout their study journeys.
“This investment will assist higher education students, such as those in Roma, stay in their communities and ultimately lead to the growth of local economies in regional, rural and remote Australia.”
The Country Universities Centre Maranoa will provide students with critical infrastructure, including computing facilities, high-speed internet access and quiet study spaces, as well as academic, administrative, and pastoral support services.
Federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud said the Maranoa centre would be crucial in delivering more opportunities for regional and rural students.
“About half of the young people living in Maranoa migrate out of the region, and more than 25 per cent of households don’t have access to the internet,” Minister Littleproud said.
“CUC Maranoa is going to change the lives of many people in the bush, and by increasing the number of skilled professionals in Maranoa it will pave the way for more business opportunities in the future.”
Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge said the Australian Government is committed to ensuring that Australian students have access to the best possible education, no matter where they live.
“This Maranoa centre will enable these students to pursue tertiary education and training opportunities without having to leave home, and we know that this means those students are more likely to stay in their communities after graduating,” Minister Tudge said.
Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee said the Regional University Centres meet a demonstrated gap in support for country communities.
“Australians who live in our major cities are twice as likely to be university educated as regional students,” Minister Gee said.
“This innovative approach to improve access to tertiary education will be crucial in ensuring regional students in Maranoa have access to the same opportunities as their urban counterparts.”
The nine additional centres funded under the Regional University Centre program are bolstered by the 16 centres already established in all states and the Northern Territory.