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More than 10,000 Australian students AsiaBound



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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

MEDIA RELEASE

31 October 2012

More than 10,000 Australian students AsiaBound

More than 10,000 Australian students will receive grants to study in Asia and thousands more will have access to more generous student loans as part of the Gillard Government’s strategy to strengthen engagement with Asia.

The Gillard Government’s new $37 million AsiaBound Grants Program will offer grants between $2000 and $5000 for students undertaking short or semester length study exchanges, and $1000 grants for preparatory Asian language study.

In addition, eligibility for the Commonwealth’s OS-HELP loan scheme will be broadened and simplified to give more students access to increased loan amounts, as well as an extra $1000 for intensive language training.

Announcing AsiaBound today, Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said the Gillard Government is encouraging Australian students to experience Asia first hand.

“AsiaBound will support more than 10,000 Australian students to enjoy the experience of living and studying in an Asian country," Senator Evans said.

"This is a program to give Australian students the opportunity to build lifelong professional networks and friendships.

“In addition, all Australian students, across all disciplines, will have greater support to take up part of their study in Asia.

“Through the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, we aim to have a larger number of Australian university students studying overseas and a greater proportion undertaking part of their degree in an Asian country by 2025.”

The maximum OS-HELP loan amount for students undertaking study in Asia will increase by $1,250 to $7,500 in 2014 and eligibility will be opened to postgraduate students in Commonwealth supported places.

An additional $1000 loan will be available to pay for intensive Asian language training prior to a student’s study abroad opportunity, and students will no longer need to be enrolled at an overseas higher education institution.

Instead, they can undertake clinical placements or other study programs that contribute to their Australian university course.

Changes to the study load requirement will give more students approaching the end of their degree access to OS-HELP loans

“The Gillard Government is removing the barriers for Australian students to study in Asia,” Senator Evans said.

“For a long time, Asian students have enjoyed educational opportunities here in Australia but student mobility must go both ways.

“The next generation of Australian leaders will need to be increasingly Asian-literate and these are skills best learnt by experiencing Asia first-hand.

“The updated scheme means low cost, student friendly loans to give more students assistance to take some of their study overseas.”

Senator Evans said the Gillard Government would work with Australian universities to substantially boost the number of Australian students studying in Asia as part of Labor’s program to deepen engagement with the region.

“Many of our institutions already have strong regional connections,” Senator Evans said.

“Together we can build on these connections and encourage students to take up the opportunities to live and learn in Asia, and support our students to make the experience a great one.

“The Asian Century presents a world of opportunities for our students and the Gillard Government is determined to make sure more Australians have the chance to benefit.”

The funding for AsiaBound was provided for in MYEFO and, consistent with the Budget rules, is fully offset.

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603