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Pepperoni Observational News Corp – Tuckwell Scholar has a rural background and isn’t privileged

By Chilli Pepper

Pepperoni Observational News Corp is a Peppercorn series that delivers satirical news and reporting via Peppercorn’s Facebook page and biannual magazine, and definitely has no affiliation with Woroni or the ANU Observer and any allusions to affiliations with these news outlets are false and misleading and should not be made or considered.

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Tuckwell Scholar has a rural background and definitely isn’t privileged

ANU is becoming less accessible to low-socioeconomic status (SES) students. Canberra cost-of-living pressures make renting and student accommodation only accessible for non-Canberran undergraduate students whose parents can afford to send their kid to the capital, so it’s no wonder that fewer and fewer low-SES students are attending (and continuing) at ANU.

That’s why scholarships are so great, because non-Canberra students who otherwise couldn’t attend ANU can make the move in a more accessible and more affordable way. Those with plenty of intergenerational wealth can afford to move, but those without often miss out.

Tyrell Wellington IV, 19, is a Tuckwell Scholar and comes from regional Victoria. “I had a hard life being sent to boarding school from our family estate *ahem* farm during high school,” he said, “so I was worried about transitioning to life in the big smoke when the time came for me to go to uni.”

“I went to Scotch College in Melbourne as a fourth-generation legacy student,” Tyrell noted. “But I grew up having a rough life tending to our family farm.”

We checked out Tyrell’s public Instagram page, featuring a sprawling estate with a lake, several four-seater utes, stables, guest houses, and only three or four cattle.

ANU scholarships were never intended to support low-SES students, mainly catering to schools where the teachers are paid in line with their ability to game the system and get their students higher ATARs. Low-SES students who make it to uni often had to figure out that system themselves in order to succeed, due to an underfunded public school structure that incentivises high-performing teachers to go private in order to get compensated, making low-SES students more resilient individuals but also in need of additional support to complete their degrees.

We asked Tyrell, a Burgmann College resident, whether scholarships should be reserved for students who aren’t privileged. “I’m definitely not privileged,” he said with indignance, “because I’m a regional student and need a bit more support than other kids.”

We also checked out Tyrell’s family Wikipedia page, which says his great grandfather was a mining magnate who purchased their family's large estate for 100 pounds back in the day. Real estate websites estimate his family's entire estate to be worth around $15-20 million.

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