FIRST year engineering student Sam Allain's degree at Lismore's Southern Cross University got a financial boost last week when he received a $20,000 Rising Star scholarship to help with his studies.
Mr Allain was one of 151 SCU students who will share in more than $460,000 in scholarships through the university's scholarship program.
After studying his first year of exercise science at the Gold Coast's Griffith University, Mr Allain said he decided to study engineering at SCU as he was travelling to Lismore to see friends on many weekends.
Now the 19-year-old has adopted the Northern Rivers as his home.
"I grew up in a regional area and never felt like I was quite suited to the Gold Coast lifestyle," he said.
"But I have grown to love the Northern Rivers over the past couple of years."
The $5000 a year Mr Allain receives for the four years of his degree will ease the financial burden on him and his family.
As for his future career as an engineer, Mr Allain said he was keeping his options open but wanted to work in a regional area.
Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said he was pleased the university's scholarship program continued to receive support from donors.
"The scholarship program recognises academic achievement, community involvement and leadership," he said.
"The program also ensures members of our community can access a higher education despite financial or other disadvantages.
"I welcome on board our new donors and extend my gratitude to our existing donors for their ongoing support."