Three students from the Central West will have the chance to apply for $25,000 scholarships to study medicine at Charles Sturt University's Orange campus when the course begins in 2021.
The $75,000 worth of scholarships was funded by the Central NSW Joint Organisation (CNSWJO), and comes after years of advocacy by the local councils in the organisation to establish the Charles Sturt and Western Sydney University Joint Program in Medicine.
CNSWJO will commit $75,000 to fund three scholarships worth $25,000 each over the course of five years, to be awarded to three students studying the five-year course full time at CSU's Orange campus.
To be eligible for the scholarships, students must live in the Local Government Areas of Bathurst Regional, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Oberon, Orange City, Parkes, Weddin, or Central Tablelands County Council.
Charles Sturt inaugural Dean of Rural Medicine Professor Lesley Forster OAM welcomed the scholarship funding and said it will make a significant contribution towards training regional doctors for regional Australia.
"This generous funding from the Central NSW Joint Organisation to support students from the Central West to study medicine demonstrates a significant investment in our region's future doctors," Professor Forster said.
"I look forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in the Joint Program in Medicine and following the medical careers of the successful scholarship recipients and the many future regional doctors our program will train."
Councillor John Medcalf OAM, chair of CNSWJO and mayor of Lachlan Shire Council, said "by supporting our young people to study and become the health workforce of tomorrow, we hope they will stay working in region".
"This region has been very supportive of the Charles Sturt University model for growing our own health workforce and we will continue to support it wherever we can because the data says it works," she said.
The three CNSWJO-funded scholarships will be available to the first cohort of students due to commence their studies in February next year.
Funds from the scholarship will help the successful recipients cover the costs of a range of study-related expenses and fees.
Director of Advancement at Charles Sturt Sarah Ansell said the university "applauds the foresight" of the scholarships.
"This fund and associated scholarships builds on the incredible work these organisations did lobbying for a medical school," she said.
"It also demonstrates the role philanthropic investment can play in building social capital in communities."
Applications for the 'Central NSW Joint Organisation Scholarship Fund' will open on Monday 7 September 2020 and close on Monday 8 February 2021. Further information will be made available on the Charles Sturt scholarship webpage.
The three successful scholarship recipients will each receive $5,000 per year over the course of five years.
Applications for the 2021 cohort for the Joint Program in Medicine will open through The Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) on Saturday 1 August and close on Wednesday 30 September 2020.
To request information about the program, fill in the online information registration form on the University's website.
Construction of the Academic and Research Hub, which will be the centrepiece of the Charles Sturt School of Rural Medicine in Orange, is due to be completed in December 2020.
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