THE ROLE OF REGIONAL UNIVERSITIES
Regional universities play a critical role both in contributing to Australia’s higher education system as a whole and particularly, the cities, towns and communities they serve.
As well as providing higher education opportunities to regional Australians – producing a large proportion of the professionals working in regional communities – they undertake research in a range of fields, are major employers in the regional centres they are based in, and provide community, sports and cultural facilities.
Regional universities are faced with a number of challenges.
The student demographic of regional universities skews to mature students, first-in-family and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. They have proportionately fewer school leavers and a greater proportion of those with lower ATAR and academically less well prepared.
Many of these universities offer substantial online and distance education courses, and have widely-scattered campuses and smaller study centres. The geographic footprint of each regional university is often larger than that of their metropolitan counterparts.