NEW PLAN: USQ Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie and USQ student Matthew Armanasco discuss scholarships.
NEW PLAN: USQ Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie and USQ student Matthew Armanasco discuss scholarships. Nev Madsen

Who is eligible for USQ's $29k 'game changing' scholarships

MATTHEW Armanasco could have easily decided to follow his friends down to Brisbane, but instead, the OP1 student decided to stay in Toowoomba and study at the University of Southern Queensland.

The St Mary's College graduate, who is now into his second semester of a dual Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science degree, said the new $29,000 scholarship package for OP1 and OP2 students, and the $20,000 package for students with an OP6 or above, would have attracted some of his schoolmates to stay in the region.

"It would have been a massive game changer for them, especially since there's no (scholarship) application process involved," he said.

"$29,000 is huge. That could easily give you a full ride for most degrees and if you're like me doing a massive engineering degree it can at least cut that HECS debt in half."

The university announced the new scholarship packages yesterday, which are guaranteed to all students who receive the required OP and put the university as their first preference on their QTAC application.

School leavers who receive an OP8 or above are eligible for a package worth $6000.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the university had already received a large amount of interest from the community about the program.

"We're getting a great reaction. It's a game changer," she said. "This is going to attract a lot more students to stay here at USQ. We need that as a community.

"We need students to stay here to build a stronger region."

The announcement from USQ follows The Chronicle's Future Toowoomba campaign, which called on institutions like USQ to come up with ways of keeping and attracting young people to the region.

Professor Mackenzie said she saw the scholarship announcement as playing into that campaign.

For more information on the scholarships visit usq.edu.au.