Heavily-subsidised transport will next year see South Waikato students bussed up to study each day at the University of Waikato, relieving a huge financial burden for families in the area.
Not only does the initiative - the brainchild of University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley - mean cheap access to studies, but after-hours access to university computers through a partnership with the four high schools in Tokoroa and Putaruru.
The university will bear the bulk of the cost, leaving students to pay $10 per week.
The service will run five days a week during the two main semesters between March and October.
There's a $5000 scholarship on offer for the initiative, dubbed Te Ara ki te Angitu: The Pathway to Excellence - South Waikato.
Professor Quigley said he first thought of the idea after reading an article about how Tokoroa High School principal Willie Ford wanted to turn the tide on the small number of his students - five in 2014 - going to university.
"The article just gave me the impression that Willie Ford was a person who was really passionate about his job and running that school in the community ... and that I should get in the car and go down and meet him."
And so he did, booking in a meeting with South Waikato Mayor Neil Sinclair along the way.
"I went to talk to Neil Sinclair too, and so out of those two conversations basically came that not many from there were going to university and the main reason was just that they viewed university as inaccessible because they were far enough away that transport was a real constraint to most families who couldn't afford to let their children live in residence at the university. So there was just a practical question about how they could get to the university if they wanted to do that."
It was possible the initiative could be rolled out in other parts of the Waikato region, he said.
As for Mr Ford, he was unsure what to make of the visit.
"I was like, 'oh here we go, another university person going to talk to me', but he just sat down and was like, ' Waikato University, your thoughts?', and we just went from there."
Professor Quigley deserved huge kudos for the project, Mr Ford said.
"For a guy that just turns up, where did he come up with this? You know, you get special people who just turn up every now and then, just out of nowhere, 'hey I want to talk to you'."
It would have a huge, positive impact not only on the school, but the community and families who had never gone to university and thought their children wouldn't either, Mr Ford said.
South Waikato Mayor Neil Sinclair said it made university study more accessible for students, giving them an achievable goal to strive for.
Ian Ferguson, principal of Tokoroa's Forest View High School, said he now hoped to double the number of students currently heading there to study.
The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations president Rory McCourt said Waikato University had been leading the way with its innovative attempts to get more people to study, which also included a partnership with Bay of Plenty Polytechnic delivering its courses.
Any attempt to help lessen the financial burden on students and their families should be applauded, he said.
Tokoroa High School student Troy Winter always wanted to be a teacher. But the 17-year-old, and parents Tammy and Paul, were wondering how they were going to afford his education.
"Yeah, well it's really expensive," Troy said. "And I was a little bit iffy about where I was going to stay, but now this bus thing has come up that's what I'm going to do. It's really great."
Mrs Winter was also pleased that the financial weight had been lifted off their shoulders.
"I'm really stoked with it and a friend of mine whose son's about the same age, she was really impressed with it and means her son can do the same thing.
"It just means that the kids can now go to uni because a lot of them have gone, 'oh we can't really afford it because we have to stay there and find accommodation', and all that sort of stuff and that can stop a lot of them doing that, so it will be fantastic for the kids."
Troy said he found out about the new initiative after he and the rest of the Year 13 students attended an open day at the university recently.
However, they were initially a bit dubious.
"I think everyone was a bit taken aback by it, they didn't really believe it. Everyone was a little bit worried about the funding and that for in the dorms and then we found out the bus service is going to be a whole lot cheaper."
Mrs Winter said she also did a double-take when she heard how cheap it was going to be.
"He came back with the bus idea and said it was only going to be $10 a week, and I said, 'are you sure?', 'have you got the right price', but after speaking to lots of other mums in the town that's the price. And the bus has got wi-fi on it as well which means that they can take their laptops and do their assignments to and from school."
Troy said three of his friends also intended on taking up the offer for the first year, but then hoped to go flatting in Hamilton.