Photo: Will & Co.
University entrants in the Murraylands have traditionally faced a three-way choice: move to Adelaide, endure a long commute or give up on those dreams.
Now a fourth option has opened up, one which will enable them to stay in the region while working towards almost any degree, whether it’s theatre or law, education or psychology.
The Murray River Study Hub will offer real-world support to students who want to remain close to Murray Bridge while studying any online course at Flinders University or Central Queensland University.
Its website launched last week, enabling students to enrol for 2020.
The study hub itself, a contemporary space where students will be able to work on their assignments day or night, will open at the Murray Bridge TAFE campus on Tuesday of next week.
Use of the hub will not be restricted to Flinders, CQU and TAFE students, either, TAFE SA chief executive David Coltman said.
“People can choose to study any online course from around the world and still access our hub’s facilities and people,” he said.
“(Last week’s) launch of the website means people can start exploring their university options through the hub and begin the enrolment process.
“Our education partners have 70-plus online courses listed already.”
Ashleigh Thiele was the first student to enrol through the study hub.
A Bachelor of Business and Social Innovation will help her make the most of her online outlet, The Brewed Artistry, and shopfront, The Collective Nook.
“I’ve always wanted to keep learning … but never thought this would be a possibility,” she said.
“It’s easy – I can do it from home, I can nut it out at my own speed and I’ll still be relevant in the workforce when my kids go to school.”
She would never have been able to commute to Adelaide to do the same course, she said – there weren’t enough hours in the day.
The hub will initially be staffed by a program manager, Vanessa Leigh, and two advisors who will support students on their learning journeys.
The Murray River Study Hub was made possible through a federal government grant announced last year, as well as funding from a $7.5 million regional study hubs program.
Another hub is due to open in the Riverland in January.