ACT News

New ANU scholarship targets rural maths, science and technology students

A new scholarship targeting rural students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths has been announced at the Australian National University.

Two students from the Riverina and Wagga Wagga region will receive $10,500 each over a three-year degree to support their accommodation at Burgmann College.

It was hoped the scholarship would also support females in this area.

A partnership between Northrop Grumman, ViaSat and Optus, the Country Scholarship for Burgmann College will be open to applications from next year for study in 2017. The focus will be on other regional areas in subsequent years.

Signing a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, deputy vice-chancellor (academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington said the scholarship would "help enrich and diversify the ANU community and will have a huge impact on a student's life, enabling them to reach their full potential".

She noted that while the university had a strong international student population, rural and regional students were not so well represented.

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Burgmann College principal Philip Dutton said the funding would cover two-thirds of accommodation costs and would make a huge difference to the stresses undergraduates faced when moving to another city, as well as helping them bypass Canberra's student rental crisis.

He noted 70 per cent of Burgmann students worked part-time to support themselves.

Northrop Grumman Australia chief executive Ian Irving said the company had a "long-standing interest in growing the skills of the scientists, engineers and mathematicians of the future . . . If Australia is to remain at the forefront of advanced economies, it is vital that we continue to invest in our nation's skills".

The general manager of ViaSat Australia government and defence, Colin Cooper, said: "A large amount of our work in Australia is undertaken in the country's rural and regional communities and we are proud to be able to provide opportunities for students in these areas."