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Minister Scullion: Greater support for Indigenous university students

5 Apr 2017

Joint media release
Senator The Hon Marise Payne -
Senator for New South Wales

The Coalition Government is investing $67.5 million through the Indigenous Student Success Programme in 2017 as part of a $253 million four-year investment to support Australia’s 16,000 Indigenous students to complete their university studies.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and Senator for New South Wales, Marise Payne, officially launched the Indigenous Student Success Programme today at Western Sydney University. The university has received $2.5 million to deliver the programme in 2017.

The programme is providing assistance through scholarships, tutorial assistance, mentoring and other personal support designed to help students meet the demands of university and succeed.

The Student Success Programme responds to the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in 2012 which recommended amalgamation and reform of supplementary Indigenous support programmes to ensure funding was flexible, simple to administer and had a greater focus on improving retention and completion rates.

“Universities and Indigenous academics helped design these new arrangements, which were featured in the Indigenous strategy released by Universities Australia last month,” Minister Scullion said.

“Getting to university is quite an achievement in itself – but the real outcome is graduating, taking up a profession and making a contribution to community, family and the knowledge of our country.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enrolments in university have been growing at twice the rate of enrolments for other Australians.

“Sadly, however, Indigenous students are more than twice as likely to drop out of university within their first year when compared to other Australian students.

“The Coalition Government is working closely with universities across the country to address this issue to ensure more Indigenous students graduate and go on to achieve great things.”

Senator Payne said more than 32,000 Indigenous Australians live in Western Sydney and education is a key part of closing the employment gap.

“We know that with high levels of education, there is almost no employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Senator Payne said.

“In fact, the results are even better for Indigenous women with a degree who statistically have a higher employment rate than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

“This support will enable Western Sydney University to provide more tailored support to suit the diverse needs of individual students in this region.”

Find out more

Visit Minister Scullion's website to read the original media release.