“As you are already a duck out of water when you have to start over in a new place, the grant really helped with student accommodation and took the pressure off so I could concentrate on beginning my studies.”Hayden Jones
Rural students face many hurdles in transitioning to third level education, with finances presenting as one of the most challenging factors. Before a student even takes their seat on their first day of Uni or TAFE, it’s likely that they will have spent more than $5,000 on books, stationary, laptop and accommodation bonds alone.
For this very reason the Education Support Fund was launched in 2013 by the Community Foundation to grant financial support to students (including mature students) transitioning into third level education.
Support from the Mirboo North and District Bank
The Mirboo North and District Community Bank were a strong supporter of the fund since its creation, donating annually since 2013. In 2018 they announced that their commitment to support locals taking higher education had become ‘perpetual’, through the creation of a new named sub-fund. The bank donated almost $160,000 to create the perpetual fund with future earnings going straight to the Educational Support Fund so that the support for local students will now be stable for the future.
ESF Grant allows rural students to stay connected to their community during transition to university.
Hayden Jones says that when he got ready to move to on-campus student accommodation at Monash University there were a few additional costs to consider as a rural student relocating to the big smoke.
“In the first year of uni, it is hard to relocate and leave your family, community and friends. There’s still the pull to come home and visit most weekends and to play sport for your local community. Finding accommodation and paying for it before finding work in the city is another factor.”
Hayden was successful in applying for the ESF, a grant he says helped immensely while he transitioned into his first year of studying Bachelor of Nursing.
“It certainly took the stress away from having to urgently seek more employment. It gave me the extra confidence of knowing the accommodation was financially secure and I knew I could go home and visit my parents in those first couple of months.”
Hayden says the grant was easy to apply for and was grateful that the Foundation can support rural students preparing for further studies.
“As you are already a duck out of water when you have to start over in a new place, the grant really helped with student accommodation and took the pressure off so I could concentrate on beginning my studies.”
Now in his second year of study, Hayden is working as a bartender part time but still comes home to play for the Mirboo North Tennis Club.
YouThrive Mentoring and Rural Youth Leadership Programs
On top of this the Community Foundation in collaboration with YouThrive Victoria offers a small number of applicants access to a Mentoring Program and / or the Rural Youth Leadership Program.
Youthrive Victoria is a charity with the vision that rural and regional communities will thrive with the strong input from skilled, resilient and motivated young people.
It has developed programs which assist young rural Victorians in developing their personal, professional and leadership capabilities and selects local students every year from Mirboo North to participate in their programs.
Applying for ESF
Applications for the ESF Grants open in September of each year, when many Year 12 students are finalising their tertiary choices and mature aged students are considering their own further study so they can enhance their skills and expertise in a chosen area.
Applicants must be residents or people with a strong demonstrable connection to the Mirboo North district. All applicants must be enrolled in or intending to enrol in their first year of a recognised course of study for the following year.