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The Country Universities Centre (CUC) Maranoa opened its doors this week in Roma, providing free access to a high-tech campus-like facility for local students enrolled in any Australian university.  The opening of CUC Maranoa marks the future of a new way of educating which focuses on closing the tertiary education gap between regional communities and larger cities. The centre offers students a central ‘hub’ where they can undertake their studies with the same support a student based in a metropolitan centre has access to. Currently 27 students have enrolled in the Roma centre, with the hope to have 100 this year.

CUC Maranoa Chair Cameron O’Neil said an aspiring student’s future should not be determined by where they live. 

“The establishment of our centre will allow local students to participate in tertiary education and achieve their educational goals from their hometown and community,” Cr O’Neil said. 

“Practically, it means local students can access high-speed internet, printing and video conferencing, as well as academic, administrative and peer support.” 

Cr O’Neil said plans to give local tertiary students a real, local option to study has been on the cards for several years and with the establishment of the first centre of its kind in Queensland this vision is being realised. 

“To be able to offer local students a choice to study local will increase the chances of keeping them in our communities for the long term. It makes our region a more attractive place to live and will make it more sustainable,” Cr O’Neil said. 

“I am so proud to lead a board of directors who all share the passion for making our centre a reality, the work and effort for everyone involved, including our Centre Manager Bec Coffey, should be commended.” 

The establishment of the CUC Maranoa has been made possible through financial support from the Australian Government and local Foundation Sponsors Powerlink Queensland, Santos, Origin, and Maranoa Regional Council.

Powerlink Chief Executive, Professor Paul Simshauser, said he was proud to be part of establishing Queensland’s first Country Universities Centre in the Maranoa region. 

“It is a passion of mine personally to help students excel in their chosen course of study,” Professor Simshauser said.

“Being a foundation partner of this centre, which will deliver local students opportunities in a supportive learning environment, is a great opportunity for us, and to be part of it right from the very start is even better.

“We know it will prove invaluable to regional families and towns.”

31 Mar 2021