Australia’s first university residential college for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is a step closer, thanks to a $1 million City of Sydney grant to the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

The grant will go towards a 250 bed residential college for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and non-Indigenous students. Once completed the college is expected to be one of the largest and most significant colleges of its type in the world.

The college will have Indigenous identity and culture at its core, and include arts and community spaces; as well as scholarships to meet accommodation costs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was proud to support this globally significant project.

“We know that higher education has huge flow-on benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the broader Australian economy, but there is still a long way to go,” the Lord Mayor said.

“For Aboriginal students wishing to study, the lack of affordable accommodation is a major barrier. This new Indigenous college will not only provide this accommodation, but celebrate our Indigenous heritage and create equal access to opportunities.”

UTS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Attila Brungs, said the future college will benefit communities across Australia.

“The UTS Indigenous Residential College is a transformative, strengths-based initiative that will both inspire more Indigenous people to enter higher education and, importantly, celebrate the richness of Indigenous heritage and culture and help forge a more inclusive society,” Professor Brungs said.

UTS Professor Michael McDaniel said the college will make it easier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to access higher education opportunities.

“The college will help remove barriers to education for Indigenous people by raising aspiration, maximising opportunities for entry to higher education and supporting the pursuit of quality employment, careers and contribution to society,” Professor McDaniel said.

Key features of the college will include:

  • Architect-designed landmark building and contemporary interior design, informed by Indigenous designers with Indigenous culture and identity at its core.
  • Publicly accessibly cultural, arts and community spaces celebrating Indigenous traditions and heritage.
  • Program of events and opportunities in collaboration with a range of education, cultural, community, industry and government partners.
  • Scholarships and cost-covered accommodation for Indigenous students.
  • Ongoing mentoring and leadership development.

The final site of the college will be determined but will be near the existing UTS campus in Ultimo.

The college is expected to be open to students by 2025.

Media release: City of Sydney