Improving access to university in the outer suburbs and the regions

The Albanese Government is investing $66.9 million to double the number of university study hubs across the country, including establishing hubs in the outer suburbs of our major cities for the first time.  

This delivers on the first immediate action of the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report that Education Minister Jason Clare will release on Wednesday.  

Too often someone’s postcode is a brick wall that stops Australians going to university. The cost of moving closer to a campus or a long and expensive commute is a major barrier to study.  

Almost one in two young Australians have a university degree, but not everywhere. Not in the outer suburbs. Not in the regions. 

This has to change. In the decade ahead, more and more jobs will require a university qualification.  

That means we are going to need more people to get those qualifications. More people getting degrees. More people in the workforce up-skilling and re-skilling. 

This is one way to do that: bringing higher education closer to students.  

The Albanese Government will establish up to 20 new Regional University Study Hubs (formerly Regional University Centres) and up to 14 new Suburban University Study Hubs. 

This is in addition to the 34 existing Regional University Study Hubs currently operating across the country.  

The evidence is these Hubs work. An evaluation of the existing regional program in 2021 found Hubs address a gap in access and enable better study experiences, with early evidence that Hubs improve student completion and retention. 

The Hubs will provide computer facilities, internet and study spaces, as well as in-person administrative and academic skills support for students undertaking study at any Australian institution. 

The $66.9 million will establish the 34 new Hubs in areas without a significant physical university campus and where the percentage of the population with university qualifications is low. 

Locations will be determined through an independent process run by the Department of Education.  

Comments attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare: 

“I want more young people from the outer suburbs and the regions to get a crack at going to university, and this will help. 

“A lot of Australians in their twenties and thirties have a university degree, but not in the outer suburbs and not in the regions. 

“I want this to change, and that means bringing university closer to them. 

“More and more jobs require a university degree. That means we will need more people with university qualifications in the years ahead. 

“This can’t just be people that live within 10km of the CBD. It also means more Australians from the outer suburbs and the regions getting that chance.”