Successful UC Indigenous program to expand

About 90 Indigenous students will benefit from a funding boost for a program which is helping them excel at high school and move on to university.

The successful University of Canberra-Aurora Project Partnership will receive an additional $400,000 grant to continue their work improving the career pathways of young Indigenous people.

The total Federal Government funding of $1.15 million will provide 200 hours of academic camps, tutoring and ongoing mentoring for those students each year until the end of their first post-school year.

Minister for Higher Education and Skills Sharon Bird said the total funding would also contribute to a scholars’ tour, scholarships to undertake postgraduate study overseas and a popular scholarships website for Indigenous students.

“Closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage is a national imperative, and education is a major part of this,” Minister Bird said.

“These projects represent a long-term commitment to these students, providing support from Year 8 through to university, and later for postgraduate study.”

The Aurora Travelling Scholars’ Tour sees high performing Indigenous students visit leading international universities.

Last year 17 students visited Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Columbia and New York University. Seven students applied to these universities for postgraduate study and all seven were accepted.

“As a result of all these initiatives, the landscape is changing,” Minister Bird said.

“Two-and-a-half years ago there had never been an Indigenous Australian studying full-time at Cambridge or Oxford universities.  Since then, 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have been accepted for postgraduate study at Oxford and Cambridge, and two more have been accepted to Harvard.”

The scholarships website provides information on universities, scholarships and bridging courses, for Indigenous students and their teachers, parents and carers.

The University of Canberra-Aurora Project partnership is funded through the Gillard Labor Government’s $736 million Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program.