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First Nations Scholarship

Sending a signal: inaugural First Nations Endowed Scholarship
'First Nations young people need opportunities and scholarships to help with the true cost of a university education. It’s through collaboration that we can make sure our young people are engaged in education and employment that we can begin to turn the tide.'
Professor Tony Dreise, University of Southern Queensland Pro Vice-Chancellor (First Nations Education and Research)

Southern Queensland represents a sizeable measure of Australia’s First Nations populations, and it’s forecast that in 10 years’ time, it will be the biggest indigenous region in the country.

It’s a statistic that is driving the University of Southern Queensland to continue to provide increasing pathways to higher education and career success for First Nations people, including the launch of the new First Nations Endowed Scholarship.

University of Southern Queensland Pro Vice-Chancellor (First Nations Education and Research), Professor Tony Dreise, said with First Nations enrolments continuing to grow, the time is right to further invest in emerging Indigenous leaders.

“A scholarship is special for anyone because we often overlook the true cost of higher education, and it can be incredibly hard for some people trying to get through life as a student,” Professor Dreise said.

“However, it’s even more challenging for many First Nations young people because there are inevitably sizable inequities for them to overcome before they event start, which can make that climb towards graduation even steeper and longer.

“This scholarship sends a signal to people with resources and funds to share – either philanthropically or altruistically – that there is talent worthy of investing in, which delivers only good things back to our local economies and communities.

“It’s also a signal to our young First Nations people – there are opportunities for you and university is absolutely attainable.”

A collaborative effort, the First Nations Endowed Scholarship is generously supported by Pure Land Learning College and CatholicCare, where their contributions have been matched by the University 2:1.

The Venerable Zhi Yang from Pure Land Learning College said the Association was pleased to support the initiative, which represented similar values to its teachings.

“I am very impressed with the University’s values and culture – one of which is involving Indigenous Australians in higher education and employment,” Mr Yang said.

“I also commend their aim to attract, recruit and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to both academic and professional positions across the University.

“My teachings strongly advocate for this spirit of sharing, and I believe this will bring greater prosperity for our society.”