Tamworth's notoriously low rates of university attendance could improve thanks to the city's bid for a campus of the University of New England.
And in a speech at Friday's State of the City address, UNE deputy vice chancellor and provost Todd Walker called on Tamworth's business leaders for help getting more kids to uni.
The university has two main markets: school leavers and mature age students getting new skills to change jobs, he said.
Professor Walker told Tamworth business leaders "we need your help in developing that school leaver market so that drives enrollments at the campus here in Tamworth."
Just 2 per cent of Tamworth is attending university, less than the average of 3 per cent across regional NSW.
And only 12 per cent have a degree, little more than half the state average of 23 per cent.
Professor Walker blamed a lack of access to higher education for the low rates of educational attainment and said the new university would be part of solving the problem.
But he said it was important to engage with local business so as to understand local educational demand, saying there is little point creating a "a degree of astrophysics when there's no jobs required for it".
He said the University could even consider becoming part of the Tamworth Business Chamber in order to better understand the training needs of local business.
In an interview with the Leader after the speech he talked up the university's "hub and spoke" model.
"There will certainly be an anchor building and it will certainly look like a university," he said.
But "rather than have a whole bunch of buses and carparks" at a centralised campus the university ought instead to "interact more within the businesses of Tamworth," he said.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the city's relatively poor educational attainment was part of the reason it needs the university.
"That's one of the main pieces of the vision is to actually arrest that situation that we are stuck with currently and provide a better future for the youth of tomorrow."