As many international students worry about job loss and financial instability due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Australian universities have come forward committing more than $110 million in student hardship support.
While announcing arrangements for various temporary visa holders in Australia in the wake of the travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Immigration minister Alan Tudge has committed that the government would talk to the international education sector to look at providing additional support for international students.
Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that "if they're not in a position to support themselves, then there is the alternative for them to return to their home countries."
However, many international students say they're in extreme stress and hardship after losing their jobs and in some cases, accommodation, with no entitlement to government support and no means of returning home.
Many individual universities have come forward announcing various mechanisms to support international students during this time of hardship.
Altogether, universities have committed $110 million as a hardship fund for international students, led by the $25 million package by Deakin University.
Here is a list of support offered by major universities:
Deakin has announced additional funding of up to $25 million to support international students for the next six months.
The University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the additional hardship support will prevent students from falling through the cracks during the difficult months ahead.
“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our international students,” he said.
Professor Martin said the hardship support for international students was available through Deakin's existing support services and that the University would continue to take a case-managed, individual approach to assist.
Australian National University
The university has committed an additional $1 million to provide emergency support to students in the situation through ANU Student Association and Post Graduate and Research Student Association. This is in addition to the $20 million bursaries announced in early March to help students affected by the travel restrictions from mainland China.
Students can apply for an emergency grant to cover accommodation, travel, grocery vouchers, textbooks, medical costs etc.
Monash University has launched a $15 million Student Compassionate and Hardship package to support vulnerable students during the COVID-19 crisis.
The support is in two phases. In the first phase, emergency payment up to $500 was given from April 7 to cover essential living expenses.
The second phase started April 14 Monday, in which eligible students can get:
- A payment of up to $7000, or
- A payment of up to $5000 available to students who have incurred reasonable costs in China, Iran or Australia associated with the original inbound bans on travel from these countries.
The total amount a student can get is $7,500 dollars.
RMIT’s Student Hardship Assistance and Equity Scholarship funds have been expanded to provide up to $10 million in support to students impacted by COVID-19.
Two types of payments are available for students impacted by COVID-19.
1. Emergency Financial Grant
To support students who are impacted by job loss, housing insecurity or other financial matters associated with COVID-19. This is for non-tech expenses, such as essential living expenses, textbooks, accommodation, healthcare, or food.
2. Technology Grant
To help students access essential IT equipment to continue studying remotely, including hardware, software, subscriptions, data, internet and digital materials. The Technology Grant is limited to up to $1,000 per student.
Charles Sturt University, Sydney
The University is offering a student support grant of up to $500 as a one-time payment to students who have been impacted due to COVID-19.
Students in most need can get this amount. While full time students are eligible for $500 support, those will less study load will get pro-rata amount.
University of Canberra
The University has advised international students in hardship to send an email to email@example.com detailing their hardship, so that the cases would be handled individually.
The UCX Food Pantry has partnered with Canberra Relief Network to provide relief hampers for students. Hampers consist of a variety of non-perishable food items and some essential toiletries. Each student is entitled to one hamper per month, as each hamper is designed to meet the needs of a family of four for a week.
Students need to register before 12pm on Mondays to avail themselves of this.
A dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org has also been established to provide assistance to international students who may be affected by travel restrictions.
University of Technology Sydney
UTS is providing accommodation and housing support for students. Students who need support can contact UTS Student Legal Service at email@example.com.
Edith Cowan University
The university has announced various support mechanisms for students, including a reduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee.
The university has made the Financial and Housing Support Bursary available to assist students who are in financial hardship due to COVID-19. It is a need-based scholarship, available to domestic and international students, enrolled in a minimum 25 credit points in semester 1 of 2020.
It has established different kinds of grants and financial support package to assist students in distress due to COVID-19.
- Emergency financial grant for students impacted by self-isolation/quarantine requirements or job losses. This grant is for essential living or study expenses related to food, healthcare, textbooks and materials (non-tech) for study up to the value of $100.
- Technology grant to support students in pursuing studies that have transitioned to digital platforms (e.g. voucher to support the purchase of a wifi dongle up to the value of $100).
- Crisis housing support for students who have encountered hardship as a result of the loss of paid employment. Rental assistance grants up to the value of $500.
It offers support even if the sponsor of an international student is facing hardship due to the situation.
Australian Catholic University
ACU offers short-term student loans to students who are in urgent need of financial assistance, through the Student Loan Scheme
The University has announced targeted financial support to students struggling due to the situation.
It includes e-vouchers up to $250 to pay for urgent essentials, one-time grant of up to $2,000 for assisting their study, and up to $2,000 interest-free loans which can be used for moving house etc.
Charles Darwin University
The university has announced more than 25 scholarships to support students affected by job loss, a transition to online study, self-isolation cost etc.
Flinders University has developed a $12.5 million student support package, which includes emergency support payments up to $500, a new Matthew Flinders Scholarship program, with scholarships valued up to $2,000, to support the continuation of the studies etc.
Swinburne University of Technology
The university has raised a $600,000 student emergency fund to provide one-off grants to students facing financial difficulties. It offers a grant of up to $1,000 for eligible students.
The University of Newcastle
The university has announced a $1 million worth student hardship fund, to support students to pay for their meals, bills and accommodation.
University of South Australia
UniSA has also created a $10 million student hardship fund to support international and domestic students.
Students can apply for the support for the following reasons:
- Increased financial costs due to technology, equipment or other added requirements for studying off-campus and/or online,
- Loss of employment,
- Reduced hours of employment,
- Inability to pay rent/board/mortgage,
- Inability to pay utility bills,
- Additional transport and accommodation expenses, including accommodation, food and incidentals required for medically advised self-isolation,
- Medical expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic that can not be recovered through a personal health insurance policy.
University of Western Australia
UWA has also developed a financial hardship grant, providing immediate assistance to students who demonstrate significant financial hardship.
This is in addition to arranging emergency food assistance with the support of Foodbank Australia and support to find housing.
University of Adelaide
The university is offering emergency financial support to students for:
- IT support for remote learning - access to re-imaged University devices, and packs to increase connectivity and data limits
- Accommodation for students in crisis - accommodation support, emergency housing and advice for students who need help with tenancy arrangements
- Food for students in crisis - we are working with Foodbank to provide vouchers for food hampers and supermarket gift cards
It has also established student hardship grants to cover:
- Lost income grant - for students who have lost supplementary employment income
- First-year student grant - for students who will not be able to continue their studies without some financial support and who have no other means of financial assistance from the government
- Family support grant - for students with dependents living with them in Australia, who have been working to support themselves and have lost their supplementary income
The university has announced a student assistance fund aiming to safeguard physical and mental health and well being of the students.
It has a study support fund for part-time students amounting $500 each and, and full time students can apply for up to $1,000.
For those students facing more struggle, additional financial support is also available, which will be decided on a case by case basis.
University of New South Wales
The UNSW has announced various types of support to students, including emergency e-vouchers up to $200for urgent needs and emergency grant up to $2,000 to students who are facing multiple issues associated with COVID-19.
University of Southern Queensland
The University has developed a new needs-based personalised financial support package, the COVID-19 Student Financial Assistance Scheme.
This will include:
- Living expenses (payments will be dependent on the situation)
- Provision of technology (one-off payments of up to $1000 AUD)
- Provision of learning resources (one-off payments of up to $500 AUD)
University of Queensland
The university is offering short-term hardship grants or emergency loan of up to $2,000 to a limited number of students.
This can be used for rent or bond utility bills, public transport, required study-related equipment, medical expenses etc, but not for tuition fee, overseas health cover, credit card repayment etc.
University of Tasmania
Western Sydney University
The university offers a range of financial assistance to assist students with education-related costs and basic living expenses.
This is in addition to the one-off grocery voucher and free nutritious meals available on a regular basis.
University of Wollongong
UoW is offering a living expense grant up to $1,500 and internet boost/software purchase loan. Students’ applications will be assessed case by case basis.
University of Sydney
The university website says that students can apply for general bursaries of up to $2,000 if they are experiencing financial hardship at this time, which is designed to help cover essential living and study expenses, including technology required for remote study. Bursaries are one off-payments of up to $2,000 and cannot be used to fund overseas travel or tuition fees.
Domestic and international students may apply for interest free loans of up to $1,000 as financial assistance for personal matters, including payment of rent in private accommodation, purchase of food or technology, loss of casual work income.
La Trobe University
The university is offering two types of grants:
- Technology Bursary* – Provision of a laptop and/or $150 to support students who do not have access to computers or the internet at home
- Crisis Support Bursary – One-off, $3000 payment for individual students experiencing a significant financial crisis and housing insecurity.
Griffith University is providing interest-free student loans to help students with the cost of education and living expenses.
Eligible students can apply for a loan of up to $1,000 to be repaid within 12 months for domestic students or six months for international students.
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