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Rudd gives $20m to black scholarship fund

THE Federal Government will fund a big expansion of the country's main indigenous boarding school scholarship scheme to allow an extra 2000 Aboriginal students to attend top secondary schools reports Mark Davis Sydney Morning Herald Political Correspondent October 31, 2008.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, announced last night the Government would contribute $20 million to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and said it would be matched by business contributions.

The extra funding will increase the foundation's existing $5 million in endowments almost tenfold, increasing the numbers of indigenous children who would be supported.

Mr Rudd said a quality education was the key to expanding the life chances of young people.

It was also critical to the Government's commitment to halving the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students in attaining year 12-level schooling qualifications.

Mr Rudd said each of the scholarships would last for up to six years and would give indigenous students "the life-changing opportunity to attend a high-quality secondary school".

The scholarships would cover tuition and boarding fees, as well as other school expenses that are unable to be met by families such as uniforms, sporting equipment and pocket money.

The foundation is based on a scheme established 10 years ago by St Joseph's College at Hunters Hill.

The St Joseph's scheme has given 68 indigenous students scholarships since 1998, including the NSW Waratahs rugby union player Kurtley Beale.

Its founders announced in August that they were taking the scheme national from next year with a $5 million endowment to offer up to 50 scholarships a year to other private schools around Australia.

Schools which have agreed to take part include four prestigious Sydney girls' colleges: Kincoppal-Rose Bay School, St Catherine's Anglican School for Girls at Waverley, St Scholastica's College at Glebe and St Vincent's College at Potts Point.