Our Story

Who we are

We are driving change in regional education by empowering regional communities to fulfil their potential through higher education. We are increasing access by building highly connected learning communities to overcome the barriers to success.

Why we are here

Regional and rural communities deserve quality opportunities to pursue their dreams without the need to relocate. Our mission is to provide regional people with the space and tools they need to create a vibrant and more prosperous future for themselves and their wider community.

What we do

We create dedicated learning and study spaces that have been designed for regional people by regional people. Our students have free access to high-speed Internet, modern technology, and general academic support all delivered in their local CUC. Our students have the opportunity to build a network of like-minded fellow students and can take advantage of being part of a state-wide learning community.

Who we are here for

All people who are studying higher education from any Australian university or non-university higher education provider.  If you’re a local business or service provider interested in engaging locally trained university graduates and students, or hosting student placements and work based learning, we are here for you too.

How it all began

Regional and rural communities all experience a similar problem: how do we ensure our youth and wider community have access to quality post-school opportunities and networks.

Cooma is small country town with a population of 7,000 people, and its closest university and major city is over an hour’s drive away. The Cooma community wanted to create a solution that would support its local students to achieve their educational aspirations, and to inject knowledge and qualifications into the local workforce. So, in 2013 Snowy Hydro Ltd and Cooma Monaro Shire Council (as it was then known as) along with key community members, jointly funded the establishment of the Cooma Universities Centre. In 2014, Snowy Hydro gifted the Centre to the Cooma community, and the Cooma Universities Centre became a charitable, incorporated, not-for-profit organisation run by a community Board of Directors. The Centre operated for five years without any government funding with Snowy Hydro Ltd and the Snowy Monaro Shire Council continuing their support.  During this time, the NSW Government recognised the impact of the Centre on the local community and provided seed funding to expand our model into five regional communities in NSW.

In 2017, we re-branded to “Country Universities Centre” with the Cooma Universities Centre changing their name to “CUC Snowy Monaro”, and our incredible journey to change the future of regional education began.

CUC Far West in Broken Hill and CUC Goulburn were officially opened in 2018, and have supported over 200 students in each of their Centres. In late 2018, we were fortunate to have been successful in obtaining Federal funding for our current and establishing Centres under the federal Regional University Centres program. This program has placed the study hub model in a national spotlight, with RUCs emerging in every state across the country, all developed for their local community by their local community. In 2019 we established CUC Clarence Valley in Grafton, CUC North West in Narrabri and Leeton, and CUC Western Riverina in Griffith and Leeton. In October 2019, we also smashed our dream milestone of supporting 1,000 regional students! Based on success, the NSW Government injected another round of seed-funding into our model to establish a further five CUCs in regional NSW.

Our affiliated network

The strength of the CUC is in its network approach to delivering quality higher education into regional communities. We have twelve Centres operating in fifteen communities in regional NSW, who are communicating and collaborating together as a network.

We operate in an umbrella model, where each Centre who affiliates with the Country Universities Centre is given access to the expertise and experience of the parent body. Each Centre is locally governed and driven by its community through an independent Board of Directors. The network approach of our model means that our Centres and students are collectively represented by an aggregated body that assists in overcoming the inevitable thin numbers in regional education.

We continue to look towards providing access to higher education for rural and regional Australia. If your community is interested in finding out more about the benefits a local CUC could bring to your area, please contact us.