A government report shows regional, rural and remote Australians are struggling to get to university.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Welfare of the Nation report shows there is a direct correlation between how far someone is from a city and their likelihood of going to university.
More than 70 per cent of university students came from the city while just 1.2 per cent came from remote or very remote Australia and 27.8 per cent came from the regions.
Children in lower earning families or from lower earning areas were less likely to attend university.
ANU demographer Dr Liz Allen said this confirms something that was well known.
"Education is a passport to life ... for people in regional and remote area, the passport for life is not the same. It is a substandard access pass to a whole range of inequalities that are largely hidden," she said.
"I'm often baffled at the utter ignorance of many Australians who have no idea of what it is like to live and be raised in disadvantage.
"From where we go to school, the type of school we attend, the area we are raised in, to the income and educational outcomes of our parents, our success is determined by an ovarian lottery."
Dr Allen has her own story of beating the odds.
She was a high school dropout, a teenage mother and a childhood sexual abuse survivor.
But her study of demography has allowed her to shine a light on the disadvantage people face and how odds of success could be based on an "ovarian lottery".
Without a secure financial base, it could be hard for kids in regional areas to fund a move across the country to go to university.
Metropolitan children also tended to grow up surrounded by a wider variety of people and had much greater odds of knowing someone who had graduated university.
"Sometimes it might be as simple as - in high school in a disadvantaged suburb - having a teacher that says 'I think you can do this'," she said.
"If it weren't for particular people I could see myself reflected in, I would not have stayed the course. I did not see people like me succeeding.
"I still don't talk like my colleagues and I don't dress like them. I still shop at Vinnies. But maybe I'll be that person that some young kid needs to see. That role model they need."
IN OTHER NEWS: