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Scholarship program to bridge the gap for rural and regional students opens  

11 December 2019 |Community

First-time tertiary and TAFE students from rural and regional Australia are encouraged to apply for one of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s 2020 scholarships, after applications for the program opened this month.

The program, which exists to improve access to tertiary education for young people from rural and regional areas, is one of the leading privately funded scholarship programs in Australia – and one of the Bank’s most financially and socially significant contributions to education – with scholarships up to the value of $5,000 available.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Executive Partnerships and CEO Rural Bank, Alexandra Gartmann, said the Bank’s scholarship program highlights its commitment to assisting students achieve their career goals by removing some of the barriers they face.

“We all know education is critical in a person’s life and in today’s rapidly changing world it sets our young people up for success. Students from regional areas across Australia should be given the same opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts, especially those who encounter challenges such as high relocation costs and away from home living expenses,” she said.

In 2019, more than $1 million in funding was granted to students through the scholarship program which incorporates the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Scholarship for rural and regional students, scholarships from participating Community Banks and the Rural Bank scholarships.

“Our scholarship program is awarded to first year tertiary and TAFE students studying at an Australian university or TAFE campus for the first time. It makes a difference to these students by supporting them financially at a time when their main focus should be on their education.

“This financial contribution is just one way in which we invest in our young people, and it is an extension of the significant contribution we make to Australian communities through our Community Bank network. To date, we have given back $229 million nationally, with more than $3.4 million specifically allocated to education and research projects during the 2018/2019 financial year,” Ms Gartmann added. 

In addition, in 2020, the Bank will introduce a new scholarship in recognition of immediate past Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Chairman, Robert Johanson, who was a key advocate for the establishment of the Bank’s scholarship program in 2007.

“The scholarship program is another of Robert’s many wonderful legacies after 31 years of service to customers, partners and the people of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.,” Ms Gartmann concluded.

Since commencing 12 years ago, the program came full circle this year when previous scholarship recipient, Rhiannon Skinner approached Bendigo Bank in her capacity as a teacher. Rhiannon wrote to the Bank seeking information about this year’s program so that she could help her current students to apply.

“The Bendigo scholarship made a huge difference by providing peace of mind both to me and my parents. It also removed a pretty massive financial strain on our family,” said Ms Skinner.

“The scholarship essentially paid my rent for two years and meant that I didn’t have to take a gap year – so I was able to concentrate on, and finish, my studies earlier than expected and set out on my teaching career.

“I’m now back in Busselton at Georgiana Molloy Anglican School teaching History and English in the senior school and Social Science and Humanities. This scholarship is one very close to my heart and I’m forever grateful. It made an immense difference to my studies, so I’d encourage others to give it a shot – don’t miss out on an opportunity that you may be eligible for, and don’t make the mistake of assuming that they are too difficult to apply for,” she added.

Applications for the scholarship program are invited from eligible students, starting their studies in 2020. Applications close on 28 January 2020.

The Bank’s scholarship program comprises a number of scholarships including:

  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank scholarship for regional and rural students: scholarships of $5,000 per student per year for two years
  • Rural Bank scholarship: up to 15 scholarships of $5,000 per student per year for two years – students must demonstrate a desire to contribute to the Australian agricultural sector or regional communities that supports the sector
  • Community Bank scholarships: variety of scholarships on offer from different Community Banks

For more information about the Bank’s full scholarship program, visit


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