Starfish Program FAQs

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Starfish Program FAQs

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What is the USC Starfish Program?

The USC Starfish Program has been developed to provide a meaningful way for our staff, alumni and the community to support USC students by donating to the USC Study Support Bursary. The Study Support Bursary aims to support equity groups from low socio-economic backgrounds with a preference for students who need employment to support their studies. One of the objectives of the additional financial support is to encourage recipients to apply more time to their studies, with less focus on paid employment. Our vision is for the USC Starfish Program to support as many students as possible who might otherwise be unable to complete their degree at USC due to financial pressures.

What is payroll giving?

Payroll giving is a means by which employees donate money on a regular basis to the USC Study Support Bursary, or a USC funding priority of their choice. The donation is taken directly from your post tax wage and will appear as a donation on your payslip under the ‘Deductions for Period’ section. Please contact payroll@usc.edu.au if you have any questions.

Staff already contribute so much to USC, why payroll giving?

The USC Starfish Program generates funds wholly and solely for USC students, by way of staff, alumni and community donations to the USC Study Support Bursary. 100% of all staff donations go directly to this Bursary, therefore allowing USC to grow the funds and assist more students in financial need.

Is there really a need at USC? 

In 2011, USC received 2,255 applications for scholarships or bursaries from students hoping they could alleviate some of the significant financial burden incurred by study. USC was in a position to award 723 scholarships and bursaries in that year. It is the role of the Starfish Program to support as many students as possible who need our help!

What is the financial value of the Study Support Bursary?

Each USC Study Support Bursary has a value of up to $2,000 and is paid in instalments to each recipient student over the semester, ensuring they have regular access to funds in order to cover costs associated with their study – for example: transport, internet costs, meals and text books.

Is my donation tax deductible?

USC has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, so all donations over $2 from USC staff, alumni and the general community are completely tax deductible.

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Can I make a donation to the Starfish Program at a time convenient for me?

Payroll giving operates through USC’s payroll system. USC staff are currently paid fortnightly, so your donation will automatically be donated in this cycle.

Are there alternative ways to donate other than payroll giving?

One-off donations are gratefully accepted for the USC Starfish Program and other USC funding priorities at any time of the year. Another way you could consider supporting the Starfish Program and other USC funding priorities is through leaving a bequest to USC in your Will.

Please contact the Development Office at development@usc.edu.au if you would like to organise a one-off donation, if you are considering leaving a bequest to USC, or have already left a gift for USC in your Will.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount I can donate?

No, but $2 is the minimum tax deductible donation.

Will I get a receipt for my donation?

You will be provided with a letter and a receipt for your donations at the end of each financial year, which you will need to include in your tax return to receive the deduction. Your total donation will also be listed on your annual payment summary, issued by USC payroll at the end of each financial year. Please contact payroll@usc.edu.au for more details.

Do I have to donate to USC’s Starfish Program?

No. USC’s Starfish payroll giving program is entirely voluntary.

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Can I stop my donation at any time?

Yes, you can. But USC encourages staff participating in the Starfish Program to commit to a reasonable length of time of donations because frequent changes become expensive to administer.

Will my personal details be made public?

When completing your USC ‘Authority to Deduct’ form you will be asked if you would like your giving to remain anonymous, or if you are happy to be listed as a supporter on public lists from time to time. We encourage you to be listed as a supporter, as a means of encouraging others to get involved! USC will never identify individual donors without the donor's permission. Please contact development@usc.edu.au for more details.

If I sign up to become a Starfish supporter, how will I know what my money is being used for?

The advantage of payroll giving programs such as the USC Starfish Program is that the University is able to direct 100% of all donations directly to its nominated funding priority, in this case the USC Study Support Bursary.

Employees will be provided with regular feedback on how their donations to the Study Support Bursary are being distributed, and opportunities to hear directly from USC students just how this support has impacted on their capacity to study successfully.

Where can I get more information USC’s Starfish Program?

Visit the Starfish Program page or contact the Development Office.

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