Access and Participation programs are available to help Australians who want to attend university, regardless of circumstances, background or location.

Regional and remote students

On 19 June 2020, a series of measures aimed at regional and remote students were announced. Worth more than $400 million over 5 years, these include:

  • Increased financial support for higher education study
  • Improved travel support

These measures are part of theNational Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy - final report .

This strategy aims to improve:

  • Opportunities for regional and remote students to attend university
  • The gap in attainment rates between regional and remote students and metropolitan students
  • Productivity for the regions
  • Research capacity of regional universities
  • Potential and opportunity in regional communities
  • Investment in regional university campuses

Tertiary Access Payment

From 2021, more than 8,100 students will benefit from the Tertiary Access Payment (TAP). The TAP means their choices are not restricted by their location.

This helps school-leavers who:

  • Live in outer regional and remote Australia
  • Need to relocate for tertiary education

The TAP is:

  • A $5,000 one-off payment
  • Not indexed or means-tested
  • Available to school-leavers from outer regional or remote areas who:
    • Relocate more than 90 minutes from their home
    • Undertake full-time, higher-level tertiary education (Certificate IV and above)

Regional Education Commissioner

By 2030, the Regional Education Commissioner aims to halve the difference in tertiary education outcomes between regional and metropolitan students.

The Commissioner will:

Read more about the Regional Education Commissioner.

Regional University Centres program

Regional University Centres are supported by a $74.2 million total investment. There are currently 16 Centres operating around Australia providing facilities and support such as:

  • Study spaces
  • Video conferencing
  • Computing facilities and internet access
  • Academic support and pastoral care for students studying via distance at partner universities

In June 2020, a further $21 million was announced to strengthen and expand the Regional University Centres program. This includes funding to:

  • Establish up to 9 new Centres in late 2020 and early 2021
  • Support existing Centres

Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships program

The Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships (RRES) has invested $58.1 million and offered more than 3,000 scholarships since 2017. The program has helped regional and remote students by:

  • Improving educational opportunities
  • Increasing access and attainment outcomes
  • Supporting undergraduate, postgraduate and higher‑level vocational education and training

Scholarships are:

  • Available to students studying:
    • From 6 months full-time up to 8 years part-time
    • On campus or through online and distance education
  • Valued at up to $18,000 each (for a full-time, four-year qualification)
  • Funded on a pro rata basis for shorter part-time qualifications
  • Available to support an internship, where relevant, with an additional $500

Round 4 of the RRES program opened on 20 January 2020. There are 1,100 scholarships available for students commencing study at any time during the 2020 academic calendar year.

New applications for Round 4 are currently closed but students should check the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre site regularly for updates.

Indigenous students from remote and regional areas

The Australian Government will provide $17.1 million over 4 years to help Indigenous students from regional and remote areas access university places.

An additional 160 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from regional and remote areas will benefit from a guaranteed Commonwealth supported place in 2021:

  • At a university of their choice
  • Where they are accepted by the university

This number will rise to over 1,700 students by 2024.

Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program

The Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP):

  • Helps Australians from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds who have the ability and opportunity to study at university
  • Provides funding to assist universities listed in Table A of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to improve students from low SES backgrounds:
    • Access undergraduate courses
    • Complete their studies
  • From 2021,  the HEPPP will be refocused to also support students who are from regional and remote Australia, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Indigenous, Regional and Low-SES Attainment Fund (IRLSAF)

The HEPPP will be refocused from 2021 and combined with regional loading and enabling loading. Funding for these programs will be distributed according to the current policy until 2023. During this time, a more refined model to support equity outcomes will be designed for implementation from 2024.

The new IRLSAF is part of the Job-ready Graduates package.

The IRLSAF provides more transparent and accountable funding and will support students who come from backgrounds including:

  • Regional
  • Remote
  • Indigenous
  • Low SES

Higher Education Disability Support Program

The Disability Support Program (DSP) provides funding to universities to remove barriers to access and participation for students with disability.

The program helps support domestic students with a disability with high-cost needs by providing:

  • Educational support
  • Equipment
  • Funding to encourage providers to attract and support students with disabilities

The DSP provides funding for the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) website. The site provides information and other resources to promote inclusive teaching and learning practices for people with disability.

The program was evaluated in 2014-15:

National Disability Coordination Officer Program

The National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program supports a network of regionally-based officers to help people with disability access and participate in tertiary education and employment.

NDCOs help people aged 15-64 with disability who may wish to succeed in post-school education, training and employment.

NDCOs work with education professionals, employers, the community and others to help people with disability access and participate in tertiary education and employment. They do this by helping people:

  • Transition from school
  • Overcome barriers and gaps in support
  • Promote inclusive practices and increase accessibility
  • Be aware of post-school options and supports

National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)

The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) helps improve higher education outcomes for marginalised and disadvantaged people such as:

  • Access
  • Participation
  • Retention
  • Success
  • Completion rates

It does this by:

  • Strengthening student equity in higher education research quality, capability and capacity
  • Building a robust evidence base
  • Informing institutional best practice
  • Enhancing delivery of equity measures
  • Informing evidence-based public policy design and implementation.