Applications are now open for funding for initiatives that encourage students and individuals in regional and remote areas of Australia to aspire to completing higher education.

The Australian Government’s Regional Partnerships Project Pool Program provides $7.1 million over three years for the delivery of collaborative outreach programs that support the higher education aspirations of students in regional communities.

Minister for Regional Education Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the program responds to the Napthine Review, which found students from regional areas were often disincentivised from pursuing university or other studies.

“There is no easy or quick fix to the barriers many students face in accessing higher education, which is why we are funding innovative proposals that will directly involve regional communities themselves,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The program will fund universities, Regional University Centres vocational education and training providers, schools and community groups to collaborate on tailored approaches that support the best possible outcomes for our students.

“The initial funding round offers eligible applicants seed funding totalling $1 million to establish partnerships with regional communities in their state or territory, and co-design a proposal for initiatives which offer students the same quality and diversity of higher education outreach as metropolitan students.

“Phase 2 of the Program will then identify the proposed outreach initiatives with the strongest regional buy-in to receive multi-year funding to deliver the outreach program.

“I encourage applicants to think outside the box and explore new ways to engage with regional communities in order to meet the needs of their students, and to make the most of any existing connections between community groups and education providers.”

Applications for Phase 1 will close on 14 March 2022.

More information is available at