Applications are now open for a new program to make access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) easier for Wide Bay students.
Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien encouraged local students to apply for the scholarships of up to $18,000, made possible by a $24 million commitment from the Liberal National Government at the last election.
"STEM courses have great employment outcomes and open up a lot of opportunities for future growth, so this is a fantastic opportunity for Wide Bay kids to get the support and skills they need to enter the field," Mr O'Brien said.
"There are sometimes extra challenges for students from regional areas like Wide Bay to get into courses like these, so the scholarships are about making student life easier for students and making STEM courses more attractive study options.
"I strongly encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities these scholarships offer to get the skills they need for future jobs."
Interim Parliamentary Leader of the Nationals Nigel Scullion said all Australians, deserve to have quality education and training opportunities, no matter where they live.
"The program has been designed to suit the needs of rural and regional students and will support flexible arrangements, including part-time and online study," Minister Scullion said.
"We're also supporting the participation of rural women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in STEM, among others, by prioritising them through the scholarship selection process."
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said science and innovation were recognised internationally as critical for boosting productivity, creating new jobs, enhancing competitiveness and driving economic growth.
"As well as tackling some of the hurdles regional and rural students face, these scholarships will help boost their numbers in STEM courses where they have been underrepresented," Minister Birmingham said.
"In 2015, 25.8 per cent of 15-64 year olds lived in regional and remote areas, but represented only 19.3 per cent of STEM enrolments."
The scholarships will operate from 2017-18 to 2020-21, with the first round of 600 scholarships being awarded for the 2018 academic year, and a second round of 600 for 2019.
The first round of applications closes on 8 January 2018. Scholarship applications for the 2019 academic year will open in the second half of 2018.
Prospective vocational education, undergraduate and postgraduate students (Certificate IV to PhD) are eligible to apply for a Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarship to support them in their studies in the year ahead.
For further information and to apply visit the Department of Education and Training website.