Regional University Centres help students in regional and remote areas access higher education without having to leave their community. They provide student support and campus-style facilities for students who study online.
About the program
The Regional University Centres program takes an innovative approach to improve access to tertiary education for regional and remote students.
A Regional University Centre is a facility regional students can use to study tertiary courses locally delivered by distance from any Australian institution. Centres provide:
- Infrastructure, including:
- Study spaces
- Break out areas
- Video conferencing
- Computer facilities
- High-speed internet access
- Administrative and academic support services such as:
- Developing writing and research skills
- Managing administrative processes
- Student support services, including:
- Pastoral support
- Study advice
- Help accessing student services
Find out more about the RUC program at the RUC Network website.
Find a Regional University Centre
There are 34 Regional University Centres located in all states and the Northern Territory.
26 Centres are currently open and supporting students across Australia. An additional 8 Centres are expected to open from 2023. Find a Centre near you on the full list of Regional University Centres.
Map of Regional University Centres
The Regional University Centres program aims to:
- Enable students in rural, regional and remote Australia to access and complete higher education without having to leave their community
- Meet a demonstrated gap in support for study in a regional, rural or remote community
- Support students who wish to stay in their community while they complete their course of study
- Enhance the experience of students studying within their own community
- Encourage strong links between the Centres and other organisations in the area, including other support services that students may access and industry
- Complement, rather than replace, existing and planned university investments and activities in regional areas, such as satellite campuses and study centres.
Each Centre reflects the community it serves and is established with consideration of the:
- Geographic location of the study Centre in relation to the community
- Population size, demographic and cultural needs of the local community
- Local industry and businesses in the area and the skills they need
- Location of local TAFE and VET providers
The Regional University Centres program was initially funded in the 2018-19 Budget. It included $16.7 million provided to support 8 study Centres under the ‘Improved Support for Regional Universities’ initiative.
In November 2018, this funding was increased to a total of $24.2 million, which supported 16 community-owned study Centres to be established and run across rural, regional and remote Australia.
The 2018-19 Budget also included $14 million for 500 Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for students being supported by the Centres.
In April 2019, further funding of $15 million was announced to establish additional centres, with associated CSPs.
In June 2020, 9 new Regional University Centres were announced under this funding. Also in June 2020, a further $21 million was announced to strengthen and expand the Regional University Centres program to support:
- implementing a network and central support for all Centres
- an evaluation of the program to inform improvements to the program and RUC governance and operation
- undertaking a research project on Centre partnerships and how to best support them, particularly Centre-university partnerships
- a scoping study to inform the location and selection of future Centres
- establishing up to eight additional Centres to further support regional and remote students who remain in their local communities
In 2022, an additional $25.6 million was committed to support the continued operation of the first 16 Centres from 2022-23 to 2025-26.
As part of the $21 million announced in June 2020, funding was provided to conduct a Scoping Study to inform the selection of locations for new/future Regional University Centres.
You can view the final report here - Scoping Study final report.