The Victorian Government has announced a $20 million  package aimed at facilitating easier access to higher education for the state’s regional students.


The Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund will increase alliances between universities and Vocational Education Training (VET) providers in Australia.


"This initiative aims to increase alliances between TAFE institutes and universities to deliver a greater range of higher education programs in regional centres, giving more students the option to study in their hometown," Victorian Minister for Higher education and Skills Peter Hall said.


 "In particular, this program aims to increase the number of TAFE campuses providing degree-level courses to make higher education opportunities more accessible for regional students and boost participation rates across the state.


"It will also encourage greater use of existing infrastructure and resources between institutions in regional Victoria."


The fund is key recommendation of a 2009 report on the development of  the Victorian Teriety Education Plan.


"The report found the lack of access to higher education was exacerbating the trend of young regional Victorians leaving their communities to access education," Mr Hall said.


"Higher education enrolment statistics show a significant disparity between regional students and their metropolitan counterparts. Only 30.5 per cent of regional students who completed year 12 last year enrolled in a university course, compared with 50.7 per cent of metropolitan students."


Mr Hall said funding for the Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund would be provided through the Victorian State Government's $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.