Let’s commit to closing the higher education gap in regional Australia

15 Nov 2021

The number of North East Victorians with a university degree is as low as half the regional and rural average according to federal government figures. Country Universities Centre (CUC) Ovens Murray is determined to close that gap when it opens three learning centres in the region next year.

Wednesday November 17th 2021 is World Access To Higher Education Day and Department of Education and Training figures show that while 44.6% of people in Australia’s major cities have a Bachelor degree, that figure falls to just 11% in Corryong, 14% in Wangaratta and 15% in Mansfield – well below the regional and rural average of 22.7%.

“We know people in our region face many barriers when it comes to higher education including the cost of relocating to university, the isolation of remote study and poor internet connectivity,” CUC Ovens Murray Centre Manager Mark Van Bergen said.

“CUC Ovens Murray helps overcome those barriers by providing free access to reliable high-speed internet, computers, printing and videoconferencing facilities as well as an on-site Learning Skills Advisor to make sure students’ learning is supported every step of the way.”

There’s strong evidence for the benefit of higher education to individuals and the broader community. The 2019 Napthine Review found that if the gap between city and country was halved there would be an estimated $11 billion increase to the GDP.

“The difference between a Year 12 qualification and a Bachelor degree is on average an extra $1 million in earnings over a lifetime,” Mr Van Bergen noted.

Want to register with CUC Ovens Murray?

CUC Ovens Murray centres will be open 7am-midnight, seven days a week at Mansfield Adult Continuing Education, the Corryong Innovation Hub and 16-18 Cusack St Wangaratta from early 2022.

Register your interest at cuc.edu.au or contact Mark Van Bergen at degrees@cucovensmurray.com.au for more information.

Media contact: Mark Van Bergen, Centre Manager CUC Ovens Murray | 0490 022 028

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