CHAIR of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment, Senator Bridget McKenzie, visited Coffs Harbour on Friday for a regional higher education forum.
The forum provided students, parents, teachers and community members with a chance to discuss the considerable difficulties students from regional areas face in the pursuit of higher education.
The senator discussed the unique challenges regional students face when choosing to further their education by going to university with cost a major factor.
"The added cost burden is the biggest barrier to securing a university degree," Senator McKenzie said.
"Students who have to relocate to study face costs of between $15,000 and $20,000 a year before they have even purchased a book or paid for their tuition.
"Living expenses can be anywhere between $250-$400 per week to live away from home.
"With the addition of relocation costs, phone calls and trips back home, students from regional areas have cost burdens which are not faced by city students who can remain at home while they study."
Discussions will form part of a report that will seek to relieve cost burdens for students outside metropolitan areas.