Extra support for Indigenous university students in the north

Indigenous students studying at Central Queensland University’s Charters Towers study hub and James Cook University’s Mount Isa campus are set to benefit from changes to legislation which aim to improve university completion rates.

Northern-based Government Senator Ian Macdonald has welcomed the amendments to the Higher Education Support Act 2003, which he said will deliver better outcomes for indigenous students studying at two of the North’s leading tertiary institutions.

“I am pleased that Indigenous students who choose to study here in the North at either James Cook University’s Mount Isa campus or Central Queensland University’s Charters Towers study hub will be better supported as they progress through their degrees,” Senator Macdonald said.

“This is a win-win situation for the students and the local community, as we hope many of these students will decide to take up positions in the North upon completion of their studies, where the community can benefit from their skills, knowledge and expertise.”

Developed in partnership with universities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island academics, the Coalition’s reforms will help gear tertiary assistance for Indigenous students towards successful completion of their university studies.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, said there had been an 85% increase in Indigenous undergraduate enrolments over the last decade.

“That’s good news, but we now need to ensure that support is available to those students throughout their study that will help them all the way through to graduation,” Minister Scullion said.

Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are 2.5 times more likely to drop out in their first year of university when compared to other domestic students.

The $253.1million (over four years) Indigenous Student Success Programme will provide more flexible support to help Indigenous tertiary students succeed in their studies.

The amendments to the legislation means there is no nominal limit to the amount of tutoring hours Indigenous students can access should they need it, and funding will be used where it is most needed to get the best results for these students.

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