Bank launches largest scholarship program yet
Studying his VCE in the rural Victorian town of Horsham in 2012, Saif Kahn's dreams of becoming a diplomat in Central Asia were literally a world away.
Living without his parents, and forced to support himself through his year 12; this 18- year-old from a non-English speaking background had to work harder than most to achieve his goals.
But 12 months later, with the support of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank scholarship program, Saif has just finished his first year exams at ANU in Canberra, a double degree of law and international relations in his sights.
Saif said the scholarship had proved invaluable during his first year of study, allowing extra time to explore his love of languages - he is taking a Farsi class outside his university studies - and community work with Dragons Abreast and the Victims of Crime Association League (ACT).
"The scholarship has given me that extra level of security," he said.
"This year has been excellent for me, I've done even better than I expected. "I didn't have to work through exams, which has contributed to my good results, and I wouldn't have had that option without the scholarship."
Hundreds of other Australian students just like Saif have benefitted from Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's scholarship program since it began in 2007.
Today the Bank launched its largest ever scholarship program. More than 160 scholarships will be offered in 2014 - both to first year undergraduates as well as those second year students who received first year scholarship support in 2013.
"The program has expanded dramatically since its launch in 2007," Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Chairman Robert Johanson said.
"Two years ago our Community Bank® partners joined the program, and this year we are excited to announce that our wholly-owned subsidiary Rural Bank will also be offering its own agribusiness scholarships, allowing us to help even more Australian students."
This year, Rural Bank will be offering eight scholarships to rural and regional students pursuing a career in agribusiness, in partnership with selected Community Bank®branches.
La Trobe University and Melbourne University have also partnered with the Bank to offer specialised scholarship programs for their rural and regional students.
While the bulk of the scholarship program focuses on students from rural and regional locations, several metropolitan Community Bank® branches are also helping local students from their district with study costs.
Mr Johanson said the Bank continued to look at ways it could expand its support of the communities it operated within.
"We believe in strengthening communities and there's no better way than supporting young people to pursue their dreams," he said.
"These scholarships can give students the financial help they need to take the first step on their pathway to higher learning, and maybe one day they will be able to bring these skills back to their local community."
Successful applicants initially receive funding for one year and depending on academic performance, the scholarship may be renewed to support their second year of study.
Applications for the 2014 program will close on Friday 24 January 2014.