Our partnerships with external organisations are an important way for us to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, encourage them to stay engaged in school and gain the best possible opportunity to go on to tertiary education. These partnerships also enable coordination of multiple activities on a broader scale in schools and on the University campus.

Bridges to Higher Education

The University of Sydney - through the Compass Program - is proud to be a founding member of Bridges to Higher Education (Bridges) initiative.

Bridges was awarded a $21.2m grant from the Commonwealth Government Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) in 2011.

Bridges to Higher Education (Bridges) is a partnership of five Sydney universities working with schools and communities to:

  • improve students' academic preparedness and outcomes;
  • increase the awareness, confidence and motivation of students from under-represented communities toward higher education;
  • build school and community capacity;
  • and increase capacity to access higher education through the creation of diverse pathways.

The collaboration brings together the collective resources and significant experience of:

As of November 2013, the five Sydney universities brought together 1,687 volunteers to engage with 71,344 students, 2,261 teachers and 4,645 parents across 262 schools and 85 projects. 24 projects were delivered by Compass.

Bridges Evaluation Preliminary Findings report covering the period of 1 January 2012 to the end of June 2013 found that:

  • 97% of students reported that they had experienced increased confidence in their academic abilities
  • 79% of students agreed that their preparation for university improved, particularly in relation to study skills
  • 87% of students agreed that they felt better prepared for university
  • 81% of students reported improved motivation to complete year 12
  • 96% of parents and carers reported improved knowledge of higher education options
  • 94% of parents and carers agreed that their knowledge of higher education benefits improved
  • 98% of teachers reported a skill improvement in the area of discipline focus

For more information on Bridges and its programs visit the website.

The Smith Family

The Smith Family and the University of Sydney joined forces in 2004 in a long-term partnership to support and encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The University of Sydney was the first university to partner with The Smith Family in this way.

In May 2013 the University and the Smith Family renewed their partnership, with the University pledging more than a quarter of a million dollars to provide scholarships to disadvantaged students and support a program of activities.

For more information on The Smith Family and Learning for Life visit their website.


The University of Sydney supported the foundation of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) and has continued that support for the last seven years. As well as this more than 164 University of Sydney student volunteer with AIME every year.

AIME provides a dynamic educational program that gives Indigenous high school students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to finish school at the same rate as their peers. AIME has proven to dramatically improve the chances of Indigenous students finishing school. AIME also connects students with post Year 12 opportunities, including further education and employment.

For more information on AIME and its programs visit their website.

Souths Cares

The University of Sydney is proud to support South Cares. South Cares is the not profit charity initiative of the South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club. This partnership aims to assist disadvantaged youth in the South Sydney area, encourage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to achieve their goals with a focus in education, training and employment and foster the expansion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement in higher education.

Support for the partnership from the University includes programs such as Framing Health - a partnership project between the University of Sydney School of Public Health and Souths Cares.

Students on the Graduate Diploma of Indigenous Health Promotion and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students on the Souths Cares program have collaborated over a series of workshops to produce short health promotion film clips. The films focus on health issues relating to youth health and education, and will be used widely to promote better health.

For more information on Souths Cares and its programs visit their website.

Future Directions Network

Former Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs player and current NSW Young Australian of the Year Corey Payne established the Future Directions Network (FDN) while completing his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney. Through mentoring programs, career pathway planning and financial assistance FDN aims to inform, educate and inspire youth from South West Sydney about higher education.

The Future Direction Network board of directors have all grown up in South West Sydney and gone on to study at university. Each Director understands the challenges that students can face in progressing from high school to university and is dedicated to bridging the information gaps and demystifying the common misperceptions of students from the region. FDN works in partnership with Compass Fairfield and Westfield Sports High Schools.

For more about FDN visit their website.