The government of South Australia has announced a new $13.8 million fund to support international students currently in the state and facing financial hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The International Student Support Package has been designed to soften the economic blow for overseas students as they currently do not have access to the federal government’s income assistance payments.
- South Australia announces $13.8m support fund for international students
- $10m will go towards supporting students enrolled in state's three public universities
- $500 emergency grant and a one-off $200 payment will also be given to eligible students
The economic boost which is part of the state’s Community and Jobs Support Fund will include:
- a $10 million fund for university students impacted by COVID-19 restrictions at the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia to distribute to their pathway and international students.
- a $500 emergency cash grant to other international students not studying at one of the public universities, currently enrolled in a course, living in South Australia and who meet the criteria
- a one-off $200 assistance payment per student living with South Australian families provided to homestay families.
Announcing the package, the SA Trade and Investment Minister David Ridgway said, “International students are very much a part of our community and we are keen to ensure they are supported at this difficult and uncertain time.”
“Ensuring international students are supported as much as possible will assist in maintaining South Australia’s global reputation for international education and will provide peace of mind for the families of these students living thousands of kilometres away from them as we face such an uncertain time," said Mr Ridgway.
Gurleen Kaur, an IT student at Flinders University in Adelaide has already applied for the state’s government’s funding available for students enrolled in public universities.
Speaking to SBS Punjabi, the 21-year-old student said she is “happy and relieved” to know that the SA Government has reciprocated their call for help.
“I was disheartened when the Prime Minister asked us to go home because the reality is that most of us here are facing financial hardship given the current circumstances,” said Ms Kaur.
“I am relieved and grateful to the SA government that they have come to our rescue at a time when we needed the most.”
Who is eligible to apply for the fund?
- Students studying with the state’s public universities – Flinders University, The University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.
- Students who are studying packaged English or enrolled in a pathway program with any of these three universities can also apply.
- VET students
- Higher education students with private higher education institutions are also eligible to apply
How to apply?
All those students who meet the criteria can register their interest here. They will be contacted when the application process opens.
Recipients for the grant will be selected using assessment criteria.
As per the state government’s figures, international students contributed $1.92 billion to the SA economy in the last financial year, besides supporting the state’s skill needs and filling critical roles.
Ahmed Ademoglu, the National President of the Council of International Students Australia said the state government’s move to ensure timely assistance to foreign students will go a long way in maintaining SA’s reputation as a “destination of choice” for prospective students.
“It is great to witness that states are finally catching up and coming to the rescue of international students who make a significant contribution to the country’s economy as well as its culture,” said Mr Ademoglu.
He added that the SA government’s move will help in building momentum towards a national financial assistance package for international students.
“I hope this will encourage the federal government to extend support and would push for inclusion in the national hardship supplements currently being offered to citizens and residents,” added Mr Ademoglu.
Coronavirus symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia, according to the Federal Government's website. Symptoms can include a fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.
If you develop symptoms within 14 days of returning from overseas, you should call to seek medical attention.
If you don’t have symptoms but you have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should also call to seek medical attention.
If you believe you may need to get tested, call your doctor, don’t visit. Or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.