DESPITE a recent study showing the number of regional university students moving to metro areas is increasing, Charles Sturt University says the majority choose to stay closer to home.
According to the study funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, the number of migrating students has grown by 76.3 per cent in five years, from about 29,000 students nationally in 2008 to more than 51,000 in 2014.
La Trobe University Associate Professor and researcher Buly Cardak said the study was based on data looking at the address listed by students when they started their degree.
"We've got students relocating to metropolitan locations because there are more opportunities for them to work while they study," he said.
CSU deputy vice-chancellor Professor Toni Downes speculated the change was partially due to uncapping university places in 2012.
“Students were given more choice and universities could take in more,” she said.
“A lot of students may have been applying and not getting in when places were capped.”
She said incentives paid to metropolitan universities to take rural and regional students, and those from indigenous and low socioeconomic statuses, also had an impact.
Prof Downes said the changes had been felt by CSU in the level of competition, although 70 per cent of regional students still chose to stay at regional universities and students in courses could access metropolitan work placements.
“But our long-term commitment is we’re about building the regional workforce,” she said.
The study found the number of regional students pursuing higher education had grown 38.8 per cent between 2008 and 2014.
This compared to 33.1 per cent growth across the higher education sector.
Prof Downes said building relationships with schools was key to continuing the trend.
“The more you build aspirations, the more regional school leavers finish year 12 and get a reasonable ATAR, so you’re improving access for regional students,” she said.