10:53am Friday 21 February 2020

New deal helps disadvantaged kids study

ANU graduate Paul Hayes. Photo by James Giggacher.
ANU graduate Paul Hayes. Photo by James Giggacher.
Signed today by ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young and The Smith Family CEO Dr Lisa O’Brien, the cooperative relationship agreement will support The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program – which gives disadvantaged children and young people the assistance they need to develop vital life skills, stay engaged in their education and have the best chance to realise their potential.

Recent ANU graduate Paul Hayes said the Learning for Life program helped him achieve his dream of going to university and changing his life for the better.

“From a young age, I knew I wanted to go to university to have a better life than my parents,” said Mr Hayes. “I wanted the dignity of financial independence and wanted not to follow my parents into teenage parenthood, unemployment and drug addiction. The Smith Family helped me complete my schooling and move from Queensland to achieve my goal of studying at Australia’s national university.”

As part of the agreement, ANU will provide additional scholarships to Learning for Life students and will collaborate with The Smith Family to provide a range of other initiatives including tutoring, mentoring, university visits and enrichment programs.

Professor Young said that the agreement demonstrates the University’s commitment to improving the educational opportunities for all young Australians.

“ANU and The Smith Family have joined forces to assist young people from disadvantaged backgrounds stay engaged with school and have the chance to progress to university studies,” Professor Young said. “As Australia’s national university ANU provides equitable access for talented young people – regardless of their background and financial situation.

“This agreement forms an important part of the University’s student equity strategy which aims to provide access to university for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, including regional, remote and Indigenous communities. ANU is committed to developing individual talents through quality learning experiences,” he said.

The Smith Family CEO Dr Lisa O’Brien thanked ANU, saying: “Our new relationship with ANU will provide much needed support for disadvantaged students to aspire and achieve. Their support will give students practical support with their education, both financial and emotional. Learning support programs such as university visits will help them to broaden their horizons and access further opportunities.”

The agreement is proudly supported by the ANU Endowment for Excellence. The Endowment is a significant body of funds which helps hundreds of students experience ANU and is the philanthropic channel for the University.

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