Promise of a university study hub set to help young people remain in Katanning while pursuing higher education

Stuart McGuckinGreat Southern Herald
GS Universities Centre director Mike Eastman outside the Albany study hub.
Camera IconGS Universities Centre director Mike Eastman outside the Albany study hub. Credit: Laurie Benson

A new university study hub will be opened in Katanning early next year after Federal funding was allocated to it and nine other regional hubs last week.

Funding for the Katanning Hub was included a $16 million announcement made by Federal Education Minister Jason Clare to expand the network of regional hubs.

He said the Universities Accord Interim Report made it clear “we need more people from the regions and outer suburbs to get a university qualification”.

“I want more young people to get a crack at going to university and we know that postcode is a massive barrier for young people getting that chance,” he said.

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“The evidence is that where University Study Hubs are, university participation goes up — that’s why we’re announcing 10 new Regional University Study Hubs and there’s more to come.”

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson welcomed the funding announcement saying it will help “keep young people in the regions with their families, rather than needing to relocate to Perth”.

“Tertiary students from country areas deserve and require comparable services to those available in metropolitan areas,” he said.

He said the study hub would increase Katanning’s vibrancy and lead to social and economic benefits.

“This announcement is timely for Katanning where some services such as banks are shutting up shop,” he said.

“The new tertiary study hub will help address the long-term local population drift to the cities.”

The study hub will be operated by Regional Development Australia in conjunction with the Great Southern Universities Centre and build on the success of the existing Albany hub.

GSU director Mike Eastman said the funding approval for the Katanning hub was a testament to the dedication to advocating for enhanced educational support in the region.

He said he was excited about the positive outcomes the hub would have on the community and that it would be tailored to suit the community.

“The Study Hub in Katanning will provide a culturally aware study environment tailored to the needs of local students,” he said.

“We are dedicated to making higher education more accessible and successful for regional students and we believe that by taking a culturally sensitive approach, we will provide all the ingredients needed for student success.”

RDA Great Southern chief executive Simon Lyas said it had been a collaborative effort between his organisation GSUC, the Department of Education and the Shire of Katanning to secure the funding.

“This study hub will not only serve as a valuable resource for students but is also expected to contribute to the economic and social development of the region,” he said.

The facilities are expected to be ready by early 2025.

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