CABOOLTURE, Buderim and Morayfield make up the leading regional areas in Queensland with the highest number of students taking up online studies.
With more than a quarter of its students based in regional areas, data from Open Universities Australia (OUA) shows Caboolture is on top in the state in terms of study enrolments with the most popular courses being the Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Behavioural Studies.
Open Universities Australia CEO Paul Wappett said having to relocate for study can have a big impact on families and communities.
"I'm a product of regional Australia myself - of the 85 people in my class, 60 left town to go and study elsewhere because in those days online wasn't an option,” Mr Wappett said.
"Many of our students are studying either to progress within their career or to make a career change and 85% of them are working either part of full-time while studying.”
Research shows about 70 per cent of students that leave their regional home to attend university never go back.
With the cost of rent alone for a three year degree setting a student back anywhere from $33,000 for shared housing to $68,000 for an apartment, it's clear why the numbers of enrolments in regional areas are growing.
For Caboolture OUA student Taneika Knott, studying her Bachelor of Education online means she can continue working and fit her studies around the rest of her life.
"I wanted to start making money and be able to work, and online offered that - I felt like I wasn't moving anywhere for the period of time I was studying on campus,” Miss Knott said.
"I saw the course I wanted to do was offered online and I wanted to be able to work whenever I wanted to so I could save for a house.”
She said studying online does bring some challenges, but it's a great option.
"I find online more difficult than I did just going in and attending a lecture - you have to create your own schedule and stay on track with everything,” she said.
"I would encourage studying online if you're committed and if you have a set plan you want to do or something you want to achieve - rather than in 10 years time I'm looking at being able to buy a house in five years.”
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