Aim: To effectively provide clinical placements for students and increase healthcare options for rural communities, an investigation of university clinics was conducted.Method: This project adopted a consultative inquiry strategy and involved two processes: (1) a review of literature; and (2) interviews with existing health sciences clinic staff.Results: Low income population groups are more likely to find student-provided services acceptable and have a reliable demand for these services if they are accessible. University clinics reporting high client numbers had a consistent flow of low income clients with chronic problems. Private healthcare providers were often unable to meet the demand from this group. However, multiple methods and flexibility of delivery that fitted in with local services were required rather than single point of access clinics.Discussion: University clinics are an effective way of providing clinical placements for students and some healthcare for rural communities. Key aspects of the community context that make a university clinic viable are the degree of disadvantage in a community, the population density (or dispersion), the workforce available to supply health services in the public and private sectors, and the types of services that are demanded by policy or lobby groups and not yet supplied.