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How do Scholarships Work in Australia?

scholarships australia international students

This article is sponsored by Flinders University

While researching your studies in Australia, you’ve probably come across a number of scholarship opportunities. You’re probably already familiar with how scholarships work, but in Australia they might be a little different from what you’re used to. Here’s what you need to know about scholarships in Australia for international students.

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is designed to help support you financially while you study in Australia. There are many types of scholarships, including awards, grants and bursaries. They are offered by the Australian Government, individual education providers (schools, colleges and universities), and other independent organisations. Applications and enquiries should be sent to your chosen education provider (the school or university where you intend to study) as they will assess your application and be able to answer any questions. 

What does a scholarship for international students cover?

Many scholarships offer financial assistance to help the awarded student with their course fees. Some scholarships will also include educational activities, travel, accommodation or other study-related expenses, like textbooks. It’s important to understand exactly what a scholarship covers. Some will cover the full amount for course fees plus extra expenses, and some will pay for a proportion of your fees, acting more like a discount on your total costs. 

It’s a good idea to sit down and work out what your expenses and total budget would be if you accepted the scholarship. Remember to consider other costs like accommodation, excursions, extra-curricular activities, course materials and other living expenses. 

What international student scholarships are available?

There are lots of different scholarships available to international students coming to study in Australia. 

Individual institutions tend to offer dedicated international student scholarships. A great example is the range of Go Beyond Scholarships from Flinders University in Adelaide. These scholarships offer up to 50% off your course fees for the full duration of your studies. Go Beyond Scholarships provide international students who demonstrate high academic performance with an opportunity to pursue their educational and career goals so they can achieve the extraordinary. 

To find out if your chosen academic institution offers a scholarship you’re eligible for, contact the admissions team or the international student resources team for further information and advice. 

There are also several Australian Government scholarships available. Australia Awards combines the scholarships offered by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Education and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, so you have all the information available in one place. You can read more about this program on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. 

Destination Australia focuses on encouraging both domestic and international students to study in regional Australia and is available for Certificate IV courses and above. This program is available through your education provider, so contact them and find out if this is something they are involved in. Similar programs include the Australian Government Research Training Program and the Australia APEC Women in Research Fellowship, both of which the education provider applies for rather than the individual student. 

Who can apply for a scholarship?

Scholarships are available to international students, students who meet certain academic achievement requirements, and students who excel in a selection of sports and disciplines. If you think you might be eligible, it’s certainly worth applying. 

A full list of scholarships, all of which are open to international students, can be found on the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website. This page has a handy tool to search the full list of scholarships available to international students so you have a better idea of what might be available to you and where. 

How do I apply for a scholarship?

Each provider has its own set of requirements, eligibility standards and application processes. The best way to apply for a scholarship is to head to your education provider’s website and follow the instructions.

Some scholarships are automatically assessed and, if you’re eligible, are granted when you make your course application.

For scholarships that require applications, generally these open at the beginning of the year in preparation for the following academic year (open in February for the academic year starting the following January). It’s worth noting that some scholarships are awarded automatically with your course acceptance if you are deemed eligible. Usually this will be outlined in either your acceptance letter or fee payment schedule. 

Some education providers will require you to take a test or a series of tests, attend an interview (sometimes online), and submit forms with further information in addition to your application. Student services are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to contact them if you’re not sure what you need to do. You can find the details of these services on your school, college or university website. Often someone will be able to walk you through the application and explain the trickier parts of the process so that you feel confident in applying. 

Do international student scholarships have conditions?

Many scholarships will have conditions placed on the scholarship agreement to protect both the student and the education provider. This could include certain grade criteria the student needs to maintain, understanding that if you move education providers the scholarship will need to be paid back to the original provider, or participating in certain extracurricular activities. Each scholarship is different, so make sure you research it thoroughly before committing yourself.