The University of Newcastle Foundation has launched a major fundraising campaign to enable it to increase the number and range of scholarships available to students.
Professor Nicholas Saunders, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University, said scholarships were a major instrument in attracting the best students.
"A university with high quality students, which offers opportunities for students from all walks of life, is a strong university," he said.
"The more high quality students we attract to the University of Newcastle, the better the potential for learning and research, the greater the success of our graduates and the greater the benefit to the community.
"A scholarship gives those students who excel in various areas - academic, sport, research - recognition for their achievements. It provides support, confidence and encouragement, keeping students motivated and helping them to remain focused on the end goal.
"For less advantaged students, a scholarship may mean the difference between deciding to attend university or not.
"Scholarships allow donors who have a particular passion for, or interest in a certain field, to connect with a student in that field and really become involved in making a difference through providing a scholarship."
Australian rugby union player Rebecca Trethowan, featured in the campaign, has received two scholarships while studying her Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Health and Physical Education.
She said the University Undergraduate Sports Scholarship and Friends of the University Sports Scholarship were a definite bonus.
"I feel I've been recognised for my achievements and that gives me confidence," Rebecca said.
"The scholarships helped financially, emotionally and physically. They allowed me to pay sporting fees, took away financial pressures, and also helped with transport and food costs. My sporting performance improved because I could get to Sydney more often for training."
People wishing to become scholarship donors can contact the University Foundation on 02 4921 7454 or visit www.newcastle.edu.au/the-foundation
Professor Saunders or Rebecca Trethowan can be contacted for interviews via Katie Porritt.