EDUCATION EQUALITY: Drop-out rates same for rural and city

Macquarie University. File photo
Macquarie University. File photo

UNIVERSITY drop-out rates for rural or remote students are no higher then any other student group.

Ruth Tregale, Director of Widening Participation at Macquarie University said she didn't believe rural or remote students were disproportionately represented in statistics.

Ms Tregale said there were many reasons why students left tertiary studies.

"I don't think the drop our rate is higher for regional or rural students compared to anyone else.

"Sometimes students choose the wrong course of study, or chose a course because of parental expectations.

"At Macquarie we are very flexible; if a student says a course is not really for them they can transfer courses, or they leave we credit their work in case they return to study at a different time.

"But sometimes, the student just struggles with the academic work load or decides university simply wasn't for them at this time," she said.

She said the university recognises the barriers students from rural and remote areas face, most significantly the costs associated with living away from home, but said there are a lot of scholarships on offer, many of which, incredibly, aren't taken up.

"Perhaps students are not aware of the scholarships which are out there or they think its not worth applying for.

"But my advice to students is 'just try everything'.

"Keep applying, keep applying... it's a very important message."

Ms Tregale said there are other ways the university supports students from rural and remote areas.

Ms Tregale said the university has a lot of support for students living on campus; residential student advisors usually in their third year who are there to help and advise new students.

"They understand the issues, they come from rural and remote areas and they've been there themselves, so they can help," Ms Tregale said.

There is also the range of usual student services including academic support, financial support and emergency loans for students until they get their Centrelink payments.

She also said the university reserve jobs on campus for students rather then sourcing an external workforce.

"We have students working casually in admin, or they work as baristas or in the sports aquatic centre or retail outlets," she said.

She directed students to the Mark Your Mark website at http://www.makeyourmark.edu.au/info/rural-regional-students/ which she said contained a wealth of information for prospective students.

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