Empowering Regional People

24 Feb 2022

Regional people are less than half as likely to gain a bachelor qualification compared to their metropolitan counterparts. Existing initiatives to improve higher education access have failed to increase the participation rates of regional Australians, which have remained stagnate at around 20% for over 30 years. These initiatives are often prescribed to regional communities by either government or universities, rather than being community owned, operated, and supported.

Successful regional development is led by local communities and aligned with regional strengths. The Country Universities Centre (CUC) model is designed and developed by regional people for regional people and their communities to provide equitable access to higher education. It is both a grassroots and agile model.  

Centres are owned, governed, and driven by the local community through an independent Board of Directors. This framework provides for place-based learning solutions. The CUC can respond quickly to the unique higher education challenges and the needs of the local community. 

At the CUC, our mission is to empower regional people by building highly-connected learning communities and opportunities for a vibrant and prosperous future. We operate in communities where universities cannot or will not go, from the coast to the outback, with the common goal of developing equitable access to higher education. 

“Before discovering the CUC, I was on the cusp of giving up on studies and meeting the course deadlines. My home environment and poor internet access led to a lot of frustration. Before attending the centre, I felt like I was on my own…” 

– Country Universities Centre Current Student

Student Support  

CUC students choose to study a diverse range of courses from over 40 different Australian universities. The CUC has responded to student needs and created an innovative model that can support any student, studying any course, at any Australian university.  

The wrap-around model of student support provides face-to-face academic, wellbeing, technology, and administrative support in addition to what each student’s university already provides.  

These extra layers of support are crucial for many students who study with the CUC. Regional online students are often at greater risk of attrition. Many students are from low SES backgrounds, are the first in their family to attend university, or have caring and multiple other responsibilities.  

Learning Community 

The CUC offers a free and welcoming place to study with flexible and personalised face-to-face support, from Centre Managers and Learning Skills Advisors, within a local learning community. This empowers students to enrol in the degree of their choice from any Australian university with the knowledge they will be supported locally.  

Dedicated study spaces 

The CUC provides quiet study spaces with high-speed internet and face-to-face student support away from the distractions of home for any student studying at any Australian university. 

High-tech Facilities  

Students can use workstations with dual screens or bring-their-own-device and access high speed internet (at least 100mbps), printing, copying and video conferencing. Students can also use dedicated online exam spaces or supervised exam rooms.  


One of the most difficult aspects of studying via distance is social isolation. Collaborative spaces encourage students to be part of a learning community where they can connect with other students in their region.  

Versatile Spaces  

The Centre has adaptable tutorial rooms that are fitted out with video conferencing facilities and can host tutorials, workshops, intensives, group work or exams.  

Flexible Access  

Students need flexibility as they are often balancing study with work and family commitments. Our Centre is staffed during business hours and are accessible to students via swipe card 7 am to midnight, seven days a week. 

Want to find out more about registering with your local CUC? 

Come into your local Country Universities Centre and speak to our staff who will provide advice on how you can start studying or how we can support you. To register your interest in joining your local CUC Centre please click here. 


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