For some high-school leavers, going to university may be a financial challenge and a drain on an already over-stretched family budget.
Data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS 2011 Survey) shows that the number of South West Sydney residents attending university is below the national average of NSW.
A South West Sydney organisation called the Future Direction Network (FDN), established by Corey Payne, NSW Young Australian of the Year and ex-Bulldogs player, is hoping to inspire more high-school leavers to attend university by providing scholarships and mentoring to disadvantaged young people.
“We all understand the challenges students from South West Sydney have in aspiring to attend university and more significantly, completing university degrees,” said Corey Payne, Founder and Executive Chairman of Future Direction Network.
“South West Sydney is the birthplace of FDN – the Board have all grown up in the region and are either first in their family or first generation to attend university. They are passionate about sharing and promoting that experience with other young people from the region.”
Through FDN, the Canterbury League Club is providing two recipients with financial support to the value of $36,000 over three years to assist them complete their university degree. Each recipient receives $500 per month to help with their university-related expenses.
“The money is used to help offset the costs of textbooks, travel and other expenses. We also encourage our recipients to use part of the funding to engage in university life and enjoy all that being a student has to offer,” said Corey.
“We want the recipients to benefit from the rich experience that university can offer outside of the classroom as much as the experience inside of it.”
“There are a lot of young people who live in Western Sydney who would like to attend university but for financial reasons, are unable to do so. We always want to encourage young people to reach their fullest potential,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.
To date, FDN has committed $108,000 to the development of six future Australian leaders. The FDN scholarships are open to Year 12 students studying and living in South West Sydney who intend on going to university and can demonstrate academic potential and financial need.
FDN 2104 scholarship recipients with Her Excellency Professor The Honourable Marie Bashir AC CVO