Why regional kids deserve the same career opportunities

NATIONALS Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker is inviting students, parents, and teachers to come forward with ideas on how the Australian Government can better support local young people to achieve a university degree.

Mr Hartsuyker has asked Senator Bridget McKenzie, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment, and representatives from the departments of Education and Social Services to present at a Regional Higher Education Forum in Coffs Harbour on August 21 at 10am.

"The forum will provide an opportunity for local students, parents, teachers and community members to discuss the barriers to accessing higher education for regional students and how to overcome them," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"A postcode should not determine whether a young person can secure a university degree, but sadly that is sometimes the case.

"Young people from regional and remote communities make up 27% of Australia's population, yet they only represent 21% of Australia's university population - this must improve.

"Securing a university degree is important to our young people with graduates earning on average 75% more over the life of their careers.

"It is also vitally important to the future of our regional communities because regional young people are more likely to return to regional Australia to live and work.

Senator McKenzie echoed Mr Hartsuyker's comments and said the added cost burden was one of the biggest barriers to securing a university degree.

"Students who have to relocate to study face costs of between $15,000 and $20,000 a year before they have even purchased a book or paid for their tuition," Senator McKenzie said.

"These significant cost burdens are not faced by city students who can remain at home while they study."

Mr Hartsuyker welcomes students and their families, as well as principals, teachers, careers advisers and other interested community members to attend the forum to share their story and ideas.

Their contribution will help shape a final report which will be presented to Minister for Education Christopher Pyne and Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison later this year.

To register your interest in attending the forum phone 6652 6233 or email Luke.Hartsuyker.MP@aph.gov.au.

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