Students can now access a tertiary education without having to leave the Cape, with the Country Universities Centre Cape York (CUC Cape York) in Cooktown officially launched today.
Assistant Minister for Education and Regional Development, Senator Anthony Chisholm said funding for the centre had been provided through the Australian Government’s Regional University Centres (RUC) program, with community support.
Regional University Centres provide facilities, as well as academic skills and wellbeing support for students studying via distance at any Australian university or vocational education and training provider.
“The opening of this Centre will benefit numerous students in Cooktown and the surrounding region. Regional students are almost half as likely to get a higher education degree, compared to students living in cities," Assistant Minister Chisholm said.
“Students who study locally are more likely to stay in the region, filling areas of workforce shortage and providing socio-economic benefits to Cooktown and surrounding areas. CUC Cape York already supports 21 students in areas including health, architecture and law.”
Almost 50 per cent of the Cape York region population identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
“The Centre has engaged a full-time Indigenous Engagement Coordinator to build confidence and engagement with current and potential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students,” Assistant Minister Chisholm said.
“Importantly, it will ensure the Centre affirms Indigenous knowledge and understanding in a local context. CUC Cape York is one of eight new Regional University Centres scheduled to open from this year, joining 26 Centres currently operating in all states and the Northern Territory.
“The Regional University Centres program is an excellent initiative that is supporting more than 3400 students in 2023, who are studying more than 1000 courses through over 200 tertiary education providers around Australia.”