Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has announced more than $1 million worth of scholarships for over 90 local university students, with the aim of helping disadvantaged regional students access higher education.
Earlier this week, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chairman Robert Johanson announced more than $1 million in scholarships for over 90 students, who will be offered assistance as part of the bank’s 2017 national program.
Scholarship recipients from Deakin University met on Tuesday to celebrate the latest round of funding from the lender and its partners.
Mr Johanson stressed that more must be done to achieve education equality.
“Our bank has been working with regional people and communities for almost 160 years, and we know regional students face significant disadvantage when compared with their metropolitan counterparts," he said. “Young regional people tell us they face many barriers which go beyond reduced access to formal education services, to include a lack of access to non-traditional forms of training including job-readiness and upskilling programs.
“We need to act to improve outcomes for young people in rural communities — if left unaddressed, an already glaring disparity is likely to grow from a gap to a chasm. We welcome any action to achieve education equity in the regions and we will continue to invest in young people,” he concluded.
According to the [In]Sight – Human Capital Index, the proportion of young regional Australians (aged 15 to 24) not engaged in either education or employment is 44 per cent higher than metropolitan areas.
Regional Australia CEO Jack Archer also attended the announcement, to launch new research into the growing education gap between young people living in regional and metropolitan areas.
Now in its tenth year, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's scholarship program has supported 552 students worth $6.2 million.
[Related: Regional bank scholarship program opens]