Two first-year university students from rural SA have received financial assistance to help with the transition to tertiary education, as part of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Scholarship Program.
The two recipients are Tumby Bay's Gemma Horgan, who is studying a Bachelor of Law at Flinders University, and Grace Bubner, Ceduna, who has commenced a Bachelor of Advanced Science degree at the University of Adelaide.
The program, now in its 15th year, is is designed to increase access to tertiary education for students across rural and regional Australia and nurture intellectual capital within the community.
Since 2007, the initiative has provided more than $10.2 million in support to 1158 students nationwide, and is one of the leading privately funded scholarship programs in Australia.
The majority of program funding is provided via the Bank's Community Bank network, with the financial support contributing to the costs of accommodation, travel, course materials, study equipment and tutoring.
This year, 177 students are being funded across Australia, who are entering into tertiary education spanning biological anthropology, psychology, law, radiography, biomedicine, nursing, arts, science and international studies.
I wish all our recipients every success in their studies and future careers.
Scholarships for up to 97 second and third year students will be also be paid this year, subject to continuing their studies and meeting the eligibility criteria.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chair Jacqueline Hey said the program had helped kickstart many careers.
"Many (scholarship recipients) have been disadvantaged by distance, financial means or difficult financial or personal circumstances, but the expressed commitment of these students to overcoming these challenges and their determination to become leaders in their chosen fields and contribute back to society is cause for great hope.
"I wish all our recipients every success in their studies and future careers."
Community Bank National Council chair Nan Caple said the board was pleased to be able to support students through their tertiary education.
Science is the gateway to everything, so I hope that if I study that, it will open lots of doors.
""Our Community Bank network is a grass roots social enterprise business model where revenue is generated by the Bank's loyal customers and returned back into the community via grants, sponsorships, scholarships and donations," she said.
"The costs associated with studying away from home can be significant and we are pleased to be able to support the career aspirations of young people from across regional Australia, many of whom will become advocates for, or in, rural and regional communities, and go on to build future careers."
Scholarship recipient Grace Bubner, who has received $5000 this year as part of the program, said the funds were a "huge help".
"I'm really grateful and appreciative of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the scholarship has made things so much easier, it's taken off the financial burden so I can focus on study and health," she said.
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"I'm not too sure what I want to major in yet, but maybe earth science, geology or physics.
"I'm from a sheep and wheat farm in Ceduna, so am really passionate about the outdoors.
"Science is the gateway to everything, so I hope that if I study that, it will open lots of doors.
The former Immanuel College student said her transition to university life had been good so far, with Covid disruptions in her final year of schooling helping her organisational skills leading into tertiary education.
"I was home on the farm for a term last year, but in a way that set me up well I think, the independent study that was required, and having to motivate yourself, it's all on you a bit more, which is similar to uni."
Details on the upcoming 2022 round of Bendigo and Adelaide scholarships can be found here.
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