Regional University Centres

Regional University Centres help students in regional and remote areas access higher education without having to leave their community. They provide student support and campus-style facilities for students who study online.

About the program

The Regional University Centres program takes an innovative approach to improve access to tertiary education for regional and remote students.

A Regional University Centre is a facility regional students can use to study tertiary courses locally delivered by distance from any Australian institution. Centres provide:

  • Infrastructure, including:
    • Study spaces
    • Break out areas
    • Video conferencing
    • Computer facilities
    • High-speed internet access
  • Administrative and academic support services such as:
    • Developing writing and research skills
    • Managing administrative processes
  • Student support services, including:
    • Pastoral support
    • Study advice
    • Help accessing student services

Find out more about the RUC program at the RUC Network website.

 Find a Regional University Centre

The Government has announced 26 Regional University Centres, located in all states and the Northern Territory.

Find a Centre near you on the full list of Regional University Centres.

Map of all the Regional University Centres

click to download a larger version of this illustration showing the location of all Regional University Centres

Program objectives

The Regional University Centres program aims to:

  • Enable students in rural, regional and remote Australia to access and complete higher education without having to leave their community
  • Meet a demonstrated gap in support for study in a regional, rural or remote community
  • Support students who wish to stay in their community while they complete their course of study
  • Enhance the experience of students studying within their own community
  • Encourage strong links between the Centres and other organisations in the area, including other support services that students may access and industry
  • Complement, rather than replace, existing and planned university investments and activities in regional areas, such as satellite campuses and study centres.

Each Centre reflects the community it serves and is established with consideration of the:

  • Geographic location of the study Centre in relation to the community
  • Population size, demographic and cultural needs of the local community
  • Local industry and businesses in the area and the skills they need
  • Location of local TAFE and VET providers

Funding commitments

The Regional University Centres program was initially funded in the 2018-19 Budget. It included $16.7 million provided to support 8 study Centres under the ‘Improved Support for Regional Universities’ initiative.

In November 2018, this funding was increased to a total of $24.2 million as part of the Regional Education Package.

The funding supported 16 community-owned study Centres to be established and run across rural, regional and remote Australia.

The 2018-19 Budget also included $14 million for an additional 500 Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for students being supported by the Centres.

In April 2019, further funding of $15 million was announced to establish additional centres, with associated CSPs, as part of the Australian Government's Plan for Regional Australia. In June 2020, 9 new Regional University Centres were announced under this funding.

Also in June 2020, a further $21 million was announced to strengthen and expand the Regional University Centres program under the More Opportunities for Regional Students package.

This $21 million includes funding for:

  • implementing a network and central support for all Centres
  • an evaluation of the program to inform improvements to the program and RUC governance and operation
  • undertaking a research project on Centre partnerships and how to best support them, particularly Centre-university partnerships
  • a scoping study to inform the location and selection of future Centres
  • establishing up to eight additional Centres to further support regional and remote students who remain in their local communities

New Regional University Centres in 2022

As part of the $21 million announced in June 2020 associated with the Job-ready Graduates package, the Regional University Centres program will provide up to $14.8 million over 4 years to support the establishment of up to eight new Regional University Centres in regional and remote Australia, including the Government’s commitment of four new Centres to be located in South Australia (with two announced locations in Mount Barker and Victor Harbor).

Applications for funding to establish the new Centres opened on 28 February 2022 and closed on 25 March 2022.

Further information regarding the funding round can be found below:

Scoping Study

As part of the Job-Ready Graduates package, the Government announced funding to conduct a Scoping Study to inform the selection of locations for new/future Regional University Centres.

The outputs from the Scoping Study will be used by the assessment panel to help inform the selection of preferred locations for new Centres, also taking into account the information and evidence provided as part of the application process.

You can view the final report here - Scoping Study final report.

Note: The assessment panel will make its own assessment of need and readiness for a RUC based on all of the available information.

Contact

Email the Regional Policy team at regional@dese.gov.au.