THERE has been a surge in students enrolling in agricultural degrees and the government is looking to capitalise on the renewed interest with additional rural scholarships.
This year has seen a 20 per cent increase in enrolments for degrees in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fishing.
Western Australia saw the largest increase of students with 63.7pc, followed by Queensland (33.3pc), South Australia (25pc), Victoria (16.4pc), Tasmania (12.8pc) and NSW (9pc).
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said more than halving the cost of agricultural courses, there had been a 121pc increase of students in Queensland, a 60pc rise in Victoria and 50pc in Tasmania.
"The statistics speak for themselves, there is a great enthusiasm from the next generation to get into the agriculture industries," Mr Littleproud said.
Regional Education Minister Andrew Gee said since reducing the cost of ag courses, students were voting with their feet.
On top of the significant fee reductions, the Commonwealth is also encouraging students to take up scholarships that improve educational outcomes for country people.
"These scholarships are an investment in our regions and in our students from regional communities," Mr Gee said.
"They're about improving education outcomes for country people, and that starts with access to high-quality education and training."
Students from regional and remote communities can apply for a Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarship worth up to $18,000, to help meet the cost of university or other tertiary education.
These scholarships will help 700 students access tertiary education opportunities in any area of study this year, from Certificate IV to PhD level.
The government is also funding scholarships of up to $18,000 for 50 undergraduate creative arts students from regional and remote areas this year, to assist with expenses.
The $5000 Tertiary Access Payment is a relocation payment for outer regional and remote school leavers who need to move to study a full-time tertiary course immediately following Year 12.
"We are helping to bridge the divide in educational opportunity between the cities and the bush," Mr Gee said.