We are thrilled to announce that five elite athletes from the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) were recently awarded study scholarships through Open Universities Australia (OUA).

This comes at a time when the VIS and OUA celebrate six years of an educational partnership together, which has meant that many elite athletes have been awarded scholarships to study units as part of a broader degree online, building skills in areas outside of their sporting disciplines.

Corporate Sales Manager at OUA, Rhys James explains that this partnership means a lot to OUA and that it demonstrates the value the organisation places on being student centric.

'OUA strongly believes in creating accessibility to higher education by providing flexible options to students, enabling them to study on their own terms.'

'With strict training schedules and competitions that take the VIS athletes around the world frequently, finding time to study on-campus becomes near impossible, which is why online study is such a valuable option.'

'Through these scholarships, the VIS athletes can access world-class education from some of Australia's best universities without having to put their sporting careers on hold,' says Rhys.

According to the athletes recently awarded the scholarships at the VIS, study is an integral part to being able to create balance in their lives and helps to build confidence.

Anabelle Smith, London Olympic Games diving competitor, who is studying an Essential Mathematics unit from UniSA through OUA highlighted how online study has helped her feel prepared for the next chapter in her life.

'The confidence study provides me in knowing that I can continue to grow my career when I retire from elite sport is really comforting.'

'Studying online has enabled me to pursue my studies and be overseas to compete at the same time,' she explains.

At the VIS, helping athletes to succeed in life and sport is a top priority and encouraging athletes to prepare for their transition out of sport through study is one of the ways they ensure athletes stay on-track.

'Over 90 athletes at the VIS are currently studying towards a degree as well as competing and we are very supportive of this,' explains Bernadette Sierakowski, Personal Excellence Coordinator at the VIS.

'We see how study transforms our athletes, making them feel more confident about other career options after being an elite athlete, whilst also helping them to focus better on their sport. This is why we are so thrilled to have these scholarships through OUA available to our athletes.'

The five athletes will continue their online studies and commence their scholarship through OUA in May this year.