$10 MILLION from the federal government is the only thing standing in the way of the University of New England setting up a 500-person campus in Tamworth.
Education advocate Mitch Hanlon made the revelation at Wednesday night's community meeting.
It comes as Tamworth mayor Col Murray returns from a series of high-level meetings in Canberra, talking up the benefits of the university to those closest to the purse strings.
Over two days, Cr Murray spoke with senior Treasury officials, along with advisers to Deputy Prime Minister McCormack and Regional Development Minister Bridget McKenzie.
"They were all quite supportive of it, and said there had been extensive lobbying from the Member for New England [Barnaby Joyce]," he said.
"We also met with Barnaby, and he confirmed he was right on the job. In fact, he's organised a meeting with the Prime Minister about it."
Cr Murray said he left the capital feeling optimistic.
"They all talked about the strengths of it without giving a final commitment," he said.
"I think we managed to get ourselves in a pretty favourable position, and at the moment we are just waiting on that confirmation."
Mr Joyce said he was having "meetings left, right and centre", but given universities fall under the state government's responsibilities, it was "no walk in the park".
"There isn't a specific pot for it to come from, so it's harder to do," he said.
"I've had a meeting with Education Minister Dan Tehan, and expressed to him the fact Tamworth has the lowest rate of tertiary education - 10 per cent - of any major regional hub.
"He acknowledged that [university] infrastructure is overwhelming the state responsibility. It falls on their balance sheet, not ours - but nonetheless, we need to be a part of this and try to fulfil the funding."
While $10 million is no small amount of money, it pales in comparison to what the NSW government is prepared to commit.
Although the state government is ready to front up the vast majority of the funding, the federal government contribution is key to getting the development across the line.
At the community meeting, UNE said it was seeking to bring disciplines from each of its three faculties, and wanted input from the community about course design.
Some have questioned whether the site donated by council - the old velodrome on Peel Street - will be large enough, or if it will hamper future expansion.
However, the university is confident it would be "big enough for stage one", while suggesting the campus could one day be expanded with the purchase of nearby properties.