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More Than Your ATAR: Distance Study Options

By September 18, 2019No Comments

Just because you can’t make it to a classroom every day doesn’t mean you can’t take on study after school. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, distance and online study are in high demand, and there are many ways you can get a world class education without having to move away from home.


Distance or online education is a growing industry in Australia. Even prior to the pandemic, one in four university students were completing some study online, and TAFE Digital boasts more than 100,000 enrolments Australia-wide and internationally.

For rural and regional students, like you, online or distance study is practical option.

Without the need to travel and find accommodation it can be much cheaper and less stressful. Distance study also enables you to stay at home should you have family or employment commitments, and it can be a way to get your further education journey started even if you aren’t quite ready to move what can be 100’s of kilometers away from the safety net of family and friends.

If you are  thinking about distance study but still aren’t sure, take a couple of minutes to read this article from the ABC on how the pandemic has given regional students the opportunity to study from home, why these students have seen the move to online learning as a benefit and why it might be a really good first option.


‘The Benefits of Studying University Online’ is a great article from Study Work Grow outlining why you might consider doing your university degree via distance, what you will need and how to get started.

If you think this might be for you then keep reading. Almost all Australian universities offer flexible and online learning delivery options, for either part of the course or 100% online. All you need to do is type ‘online university study Australia’ into Google or, if you have an institution in mind, you can find out their online offerings on their website.

Alternatively, Open Universities Australia (OUA) offers more than 390 degrees through many of Australia’s leading universities. They provide you with enrolment support, offer online study resources and essay support to help get you through that degree via distance no matter your previous study experience. They also offer short courses so you can try out some content to get an idea of what you might like first.


VET provides a vast array of subjects ranging from the traditional trades to business and creative arts. Formal VET offers a range of nationally recognised qualifications from certificates that can be completed in a relatively short time through to advanced diplomas. This training is provided by either government-funded or private organisations, and most offer online study options.

The Australian Government My Skills website allows you to find and compare online nationally-accredited courses and training from VET registered providers.

Here are some links to distance study information from key providers in each state or territory:


Victorian TAFE AssociationSTUDY NT

Open Colleges is the largest, private, online vocational educator in Australia, with more than 25,000 active students. They offer nationally recognised courses designed and delivered by industry professionals. With support teams to help you with everything from basic questions, enrolment and academic assistance, this can be really helpful when you are unsure how to navigate all aspects of online study.

Flexibility in the delivery of vocational education and training that allows students and employees to learn when, where and how they want is vital in raising the profile of regional learning.

TAFE NSW Spokesperson


Regional University Centres are facilities students can use to study tertiary courses delivered by distance from any Australian institution. There are currently 16 Centres, across Australia.

For a full list of centres, click on the map.

The hubs feature video-conferencing, lecture and tutorial rooms, computer stations and workshops delivered by local instructors. The Centres are also equipped with high-speed internet.

CEF is proud to partner with Country Universities Centre (CUC), part of the RUC program. Currently, the CUC network includes six Centres across eight locations in NSW. In June, the CUC announced government funding that will help expand their catchment across the country, with six new Centres to be established in NSW and QLD in the coming months.

Check out this great blog on the support that CEF Snowy Monaro grant recipient Kat Cyn has received from the CUC during her online learning experience.

The centres are staffed and contain great technology and connectivity. An environment of higher education learning and community of students is cultured. The CUC and CEF have great commonality in their missions to improve opportunities for regional and rural communities and people.

Duncan Taylor
CUC Chief Executive Officer


If you really want to study after school, but moving away, travelling or other commitments make it impossible, then distance education might be for you.

Whether you want to undertake some short courses, jump into a university degree or undertake VET sector training, there are options out there, and in our new digitally connected world, the number of options is only going to grow.

We know that wanting to study is perhaps the easy part, but how you will manage without a class timetable can be cause for real concern. Rest assured, with rural and regional education a real focus for government and communities, there are a number of support options available to you that can make the experience better and more rewarding than ever before.

This ‘More Than Your ATAR’ education series is to support and inform young students as they seek to make further education choices.

It will be covering off such subjects such as: where to startearly entry, VET education, studying via distance & regional study hubs as well as tips and tricks for applying for a scholarship. We talk to all the experts – students, CEF committees, high school and university advisers to help you on this long, windy road.


Author nicole

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