Hundreds of talented Australian students will have the opportunity to realise their full potential through an extraordinary $30 million gift to the University of Melbourne from the Hansen Little Foundation.

A unique philanthropic partnership with the University, the gift from Jane Hansen and Paul Little AO will allow for the construction of Little Hall, a landmark student residence on Swanston Street, Carlton, and the establishment of the University’s flagship Hansen Scholarship Program.

The annual program, which will run for an initial 40 years, will commence in 2020 with an inaugural intake of 20 students, who will be known as Hansen Scholars.

These scholars will receive free accommodation at Little Hall, assistance with general living expenses for the duration of their Bachelor’s degree, and development and career support throughout their time at university.

Ms Hansen, the founding patron of the Scholarship Program, said it will provide unparalleled opportunities and support for outstanding students whose personal circumstances may otherwise deny them the chance to study at the University of Melbourne.

“I firmly believe that an individual’s life trajectory should be guided by their determination to achieve their ambitions,” Ms Hansen said.

“The Hansen Scholarship Program will significantly expand the horizons of its recipients - enabling and emboldening them to reframe their dreams and reimagine their futures.”

Mr Little said Little Hall will house 669 students, who will all benefit from an Enrichment Program to support them to both reach their academic potential and succeed in their post-university careers.

“Little Hall will be an exciting addition to Melbourne, a unique and outstanding architectural statement that establishes a new benchmark for student living in a distinctive academic and intellectually rich environment,” Mr Little said.

“The aim of the Enrichment Program will be to make residency at Little Hall a fulfilling personal and academic experience so that students can explore all academic possibilities at the University while also establishing personal networks and undertaking extra-curricular activities.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the gift from the Hansen Little Foundation is the largest in the University’s history for the benefit of students.

“We want the very best students to study at Melbourne, to stretch them academically and to help them make the most of their time on campus,” Professor Davis said.

“A vibrant, distinctive, campus-based living community is essential as it extends the social and learning culture beyond the classroom. Little Hall is a wonderful opportunity to create an affordable housing option for University of Melbourne students in an academic and intellectually rich setting.”

“We’re very excited about the Hansen Scholarship Program, which will nurture and significantly expand the horizons of talented students who may otherwise struggle to access a high-quality university education.”