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Exciting incentives to study in regional Australia

Are you considering studying regionally and exploring a pathway to permanent residency?  Read on to learn about the Australian Government's announcement of over 1,000 regional scholarships. Furthermore, students studying in regional areas on a graduate Visa will benefit from up to 4 years of Post-Study Work (PSW) rights upon graduation. 

New South Wales

Considering study in NSW? Charles Sturt University has regional campuses in Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga or Orange; each with a unique offering.  The Albury campus has a strong environment focus and course options include Environmental Science, Health and Education. At Bathurst, study options include Nursing amongst others.

Other institutions in NSW offering the Destination scholarship include: SAE institute, Tafe NSW, the University of New England and the University of Wollongong.  Speak to your local IDP counsellor to learn more and apply for this scholarship.


Looking to study in regional Victoria? La Trobe University has a wide course range including Business, IT, Education, Health or Science.  La Trobe has regional campuses in Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Mildura and Shepparton.

Federation University has a strong network of regional campuses including Ballarat, Gippsland and Wimmera. Explore their extensive course range including undergraduate and post-graduate options in Health, Commerce, Arts, Education, IT and Accounting.  Speak to your local IDP counsellor to understand your best options in regional Victoria and how to apply for this scholarship. 


There are numerous universities with regional campuses offering this scholarship in Queensland.   Central Queensland University (CQUni) has the largest regional network of universities in Australia. Campus locations include Bundaberg, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville.  CQ Uni pride themselves on smaller class sizes with focused individual learning.

Other universities offering the scholarship include James Cook University, the University of Queensland, Sunshine Coast and Southern Queensland. Your local IDP counsellor can help you pinpoint the best university course for your situation. 

Western Australia

Explore Western Australia's impressive universities including Curtin University in Kalgoorlie, Edith Cowan University in Bunbury, the University of Notre Dame in Broome and the University of Western Australia in Albany.  

Curtin university in Kalgoorlie has a strong focus on Engineering and Science with new laboratories.  Notre Dame’s campus in Broome has a strong environmental research focus, and course options include Nursing, Education and Aboriginal studies.  Your local IDP counsellor can help you explore scholarship opportunities in WA.

South Australia

Consider course opportunities with the University of South Australia in their regional campuses of Mount Gambier and Whyalla.  Course options include Nursing, Social work, Early Childhood Education and Primary Education.

Northern Territory

Charles Darwin University have 4 campuses in the Northern Territory. Explore exciting course options in Nursing, Education, Community services, IT, Accounting or Engineering. 


The University of Tasmania has 3 locations in Burnie, Hobart and Launceston and focus on preparing their students to join the workforce.  Explore exciting course options including Nursing, Education, IT, Health, Design or STEM. 

How to apply?  

Speak with IDP to understand the regional option that best suits your situation.  Your local IDP counsellor can help you apply directly to the chosen institution for this scholarship.  The Scholarship value is up to $15,000 per year for a maximum of 4 years.

What is regional Australia?

The government made changes to classify a regional area as any area that is not Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane from November 2019.

Cities like Gold Coast, Perth, Canberra, Newcastle and Wollongong are now considered regional and provides international students an option to gain an additional 5 points by studying in a regional location.

Regional area classification




Major Cities




No access to any regional area incentives

Cities and major regional centres



Gold Coast

Sunshine Coast


Newcastle/Lake Macquarie




- 25,000 regional places are available
- priority processing on regional visas.
- includes the Regional Occupations List – more jobs compared to non-regional lists.
- access to an additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa for students at regional university campuses

Regional areas and other regional areas

All other locations

- 25,000 regional places are available
- priority processing on regional visas.
- access to the Regional Occupations List – more jobs compared to non-regional lists.
- access an additional 2 years in Australia on a post-study work visa for international students at regional campuses

Priority processing of region-specific Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs).

Source: Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs

The reasons behind these changes

The government has done this to boost the economy in regional areas and increase the number of people with specialist skills. Larger cities like Melbourne and Sydney are becoming crowded and congested, and the changes will help to grow the population in areas not as populated.

Keen to explore a regional opportunity?

Although many people are attracted by big cities, a lot of students are surprised at how much they love to live and study regionally. There is a lot of charm in regional Australia and many adventures to be had in the rugged, natural surrounds.

Pros of studying in a regional area 


Benefit from a quality lifestyle in a quieter, lesser populated city.  There’s hardly any traffic congestion, no long queues to get where you need to be, allowing you to enjoy hobbies, shopping and eating out in a more relaxed way.

Deeper sense of community

Enjoy a stronger sense of community.  People are friendly and take the time to get to know one another in the community.  This can help you develop confidence in your English and gain a deeper understanding of the culture and build a strong support network.

Lower cost of living

The cost of living is lower in a regional city, rent and cost of dining out are considerably lower.  Enjoy being able to save extra dollars for your future in Australia.

Escape to the great outdoors

Appreciate being close to the great outdoors.  Explore the nature, walking tracks and nearby beaches on weekend adventures.

Smaller class sizes 

International students enjoy smaller class sizes, allowing them to build a strong network with students and teaching staff. More individualised attention is a benefit and having the opportunity to ask more detailed questions about career opportunities is also a plus

Cons of living regionally

Public transport 

Public transport can be limited in a regional area. A way around this is to secure your accommodation closer to public transport options.

Less entertainment 

There is less entertainment in a regional city in comparison to a metro one. Instead of having many pubs, restaurants and bars to choose from, there will be a smaller selection. This also depends on the city you go to.

Recommendations for living in regional areas 

Ensure you can find the course you wish to study. Whilst the 5 points for studying regionally is tempting, you should ensure that you’re studying a course that is aligned with your future career aspirations.

If you’re hoping to be a pathway to permanent residency, ensure there is employment availability in the area you will work in. Your local IDP counsellor will be able to help guide you through the options. 

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