Almost 900 Tasmanian students’ lives have been changed through the University of Tasmania’s Springboard to Higher Education Bursary Program.
Since 2002, the program has enabled and encouraged students who may be ‘at risk’ of leaving the education system, to access higher education.
The University of Tasmania’s Acting Executive Director Advancement Sara Sharif said the program also helps students realise their full academic potential, and as a natural consequence, their personal and professional capabilities.
“The program is an important statement in achieving equity within our education system and removing barriers to higher education – whether they be economic, social or political,” Ms Sharif said.
“It goes beyond financial support – it demonstrates a vote of confidence in these deserving students and encourages them to pursue their academic and personal goals, despite the challenging circumstances they may face.
“The Springboard Program has been and continues to be supported by a wonderful variety of donors ranging from trusts and foundations, business, local and state governments and individuals in Tasmania and interstate”
Launceston resident Roz O’Connor has recently become a donor to the Springboard program. She is generously supporting two extended bursaries, establishing “The O’Connor Family Trust Springboard to Higher Education Bursary”.
Mrs O’Connor said she has always believed in the importance of education. “I saw this as an opportunity to support the University of Tasmania and encourage students at various high schools to move through the scholarship program onto higher education,” Mrs O’Connor said.
“This is a unique opportunity for those young people who may not of otherwise had this chance and I was very keen to support the initiative.”
Originally bursary recipients would receive financial support in Year 11, Year 12 and the first year of University.
Ms Sharif said this support was extended in 2017 to cover a student’s entire undergraduate degree at the University of Tasmania, creating a comprehensive approach towards assisting students by providing not only financial security and support for the duration of a student’s studies but also a clear pathway into their chosen profession.
“Our vision for the next three to five years is to increase the number of students supported by the program and increase the number of donors to the program. The program will continue to work closely with high schools and their communities to provide the much-needed support of students." she said.
Mrs O’Connor concluded, “I am very excited to see how this program unfolds over the coming few years, it is my intention to continue my support and encourage more young people in our community to aspire to higher education.”
Image: “The Springboard to Higher Education Bursary has helped me enormously over the past years.” Hamish McLean