Minister for Education, The Hon. Jason Clare MP visits Charles Sturt

12 JULY 2022

Minister for Education, The Hon. Jason Clare MP visits Charles Sturt

The Minister visited the University’s Orange campus, meeting with Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor, Professor Renée Leon, to discuss how to get more low socioeconomic status, First Nations and regional Australians into higher education

  • Australian Government’s Minister for Education visits Charles Sturt University in Orange, meeting Vice-Chancellor, students and staff
  • Tour includes Indigenous Health tutorial for School of Rural Medicine students and meeting with staff and students at campus’s First Nations Student Support Centre
  • Charles Sturt’s student participation rates for low socioeconomic status, First Nations and regional Australians are amongst the highest in the Australian university sector

Minister for Education, The Hon. Jason Clare MP, saw first-hand the “terrific work” Charles Sturt University is undertaking to provide higher education opportunities to low socioeconomic status (SES), First Nations, and regional Australians.

Minister Clare visited the University’s Orange campus on Tuesday, meeting with Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Renée Leon, Regional Education Commissioner, The Hon. Ms Fiona Nash, as well as students and staff from the University.

The Minister’s campus tour included an invitation to an Indigenous Health tutorial for second-year School of Rural Medicine students, as well as speaking with staff at the campus’s First Nations Student Support Centre.

Addressing the Universities Australia conference last week, Minister Clare said the new Government would work with universities to pursue a goal of increasing the higher education participation rates of low SES, First Nations and regional Australians.

“Where you live, how much your parents earn, whether you are Indigenous or not, is still a major factor in whether you are a student or a graduate of an Australian university,” the Minister said in his speech on Wednesday 6 July.

In 2021, Charles Sturt’s student participation rates for low SES, First Nations and regional Australians were amongst the highest in the Australian university sector:

  • 19.3 per cent of students from low SES backgrounds.
  • 3.3 per cent of students were First Nations Australians. Sector average: 2 per cent.
  • 51 per cent of students from regional, rural or remote locations. Sector average: 24 percent.

Minister Clare said his visit has been a great opportunity to meet the University’s staff and students and to engage in discussions about making higher education accessible to more people.

“It’s great to meet with the Vice-Chancellor and the team here at Charles Sturt University,” he said.

“I saw for myself the terrific work that they’re doing and we talked about ways we can help more young people from regional and remote areas get to university.”

Professor Leon said Charles Sturt has a proven record as a driver of equity in higher education and she looks forward to working with the Government to ensure access to a university education for all Australians who desire it.

“Charles Sturt University is proud to open its doors to students who would otherwise, and for reasons beyond their control, be denied access to the knowledge and skills they need to make positive impacts in their careers and communities,” she said.

“Our School or Rural Medicine is a prime example of this. The first cohort was made up entirely of students from regional, rural and remote locations, while the second and latest cohort includes three First Nations students.

“We have no plans to curtail this approach moving forward. In fact, we have already taken action to expand it, with 74 per cent of our early entry offers for 2023 so far going to prospective students from regional, rural or remote areas.

“It was wonderful to have the chance to meet with Minister Clare on Tuesday to discuss ways to open up further opportunities for people to obtain university qualifications.”

During his visit to the campus, Minister Clare also met with:

  • First Nations students and support staff
  • Dean of Medicine, Professor Lesley Forster, for an update on the Joint Program of Medicine
  • Speech and language acquisition researcher, Professor Sharynne McLeod
  • Senior Lecturer in Physiology and osteoarthritis stem cell researcher, Dr James Wickham
  • Staff in the School of Dentistry and medical Sciences and the Dental and Oral Health Clinic
Media Note:

For more information please contact Charles Sturt Media Manager Dave Neil on 0407 332 718 or at dneil@csu.edu.au

Photo: Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Renée Leon and Minister for Education, The Hon. Jason Clare MP.

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