What It Means To Have A “Rural” Place
29 April, 2016
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With GEMSAS offers now released, many people are talking about what it means to have a “rural” place. In fact, this refers to one of several schemes the Commonwealth government has established to address the workforce shortage in regional and remote areas. While any offer to study medicine is a great privilege, it is important that you understand your obligations under these schemes so that you can make an informed decision.
- Bonded Medical Place Scheme (BMP Scheme)
25% of all Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are allocated to the BMP Scheme. As the name suggests, these ‘bonded’ students are required to serve at places of workforce shortage for four years. This period commences upon completion of specialty training, however, up to two years of prevocational training can be credited. The GAMSAT® Exam cut-off for these places is usually lower than that of standard Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP).
- Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme (MRBS Scheme)
This scheme offers 100 additional CSP places nationally, with each student receiving a $25,000 per year tax free scholarship. In return, the student is bonded to a rural area for a period of six years. These places are often more competitive than an a standard CSP.
- Rural Background Subquota
The Commonwealth government requires that 25% of medical students come from a rural background. This subquota applies over the entirety of medical cohort: thus, rural subquota places are available as standard CSPs or bonded places. In order to determine your eligibility for this subquota, you will need to refer to the ASGC-RA (Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area) system produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Your locality must be classed as “RA-2” to “RA-5” in order to be eligible for this subquota. The ASGC-RA is available here (http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/map)
- These types of offers are only available to domestic students.
- It is possible to reduce the bond through “scaling”, whereby working in more remote areas will finalise the bond sooner than would normally be the case.