Generous Gift Opens More Doors To University

More regional students are on their path to university due to the success of La Trobe University’s Regional Pathways Program, made possible through generous philanthropy.

The latest contribution by Hume Bank, of $20,000 over two years, will expand the program in the Albury-Wodonga region and continue La Trobe’s efforts at ensuring no student is left behind.

Hume Bank’s donation will assist in supporting increased student placements across the wider North-East Victorian region, increasing from 86 to 175 students in 2025.

Last year, 79 per cent of students involved in the Pathways program were on track to or enrolled in higher education. This is a promising result considering Albury-Wodonga’s higher education participation rate sits below 13 per cent for people aged between 19 and 21.

La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Head of Campus, Dr Guinever Threlkeld, thanked Hume Bank for their support and said this initiative addresses the disparity in higher education participation between regional and metropolitan areas.

“We are proud of this program and excited about the continued impact it will have in regional communities,” Dr Threlkeld said.

“Access to higher education is not only life-changing for the individual and their future career, but it has a ripple effect for their families and the broader community, bolstering the region’s skilled workforce.”

The Pathways program first launched at La Trobe’s Albury-Wodonga campus in 2017 and targets high and moderate priority schools as detailed in My School data.

The 2024 program is underway at James Fallon High School, Murray High School, Wodonga Senior Secondary College and Wangaratta High School. The additional funding, from Hume Bank and others*, will support schools in the wider North-East area from term three.

“Accessing higher education is crucial for the future strength and prosperity of our community,” Stephen Capello, Hume Bank CEO, said, pointing to a 2023 La Trobe report that revealed only 12.9 per cent of Albury-Wodonga youth attend university, compared to 50 per cent in Greater Melbourne.

“Seeing this gap, we felt compelled to offer our support. We aim to be part of the solution; ensuring our community has equitable opportunities and continues to prosper,” Stephen said.

The Pathways program is offered fortnightly through a series of workshops that aim to support students with their journey towards tertiary study. This includes activities that demystify university pathways and connect students with courses and careers that align with their interests, passion, and circumstances.

The program also provides tutoring support around good study habits for year 12 and preparing students for the realities of university, including financial needs and living costs.

*Hume Bank is partnered with the Reid Malley Foundation and Garry Nash and Co. Community Fund to support La Trobe’s mission at the Albury-Wodonga campus. The Pathways program operates at the University’s three other regional campuses thanks to a network of generous donors across Victoria.

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