1. Purpose of procedures
1.1 The Commonwealth Government’s Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP) provides funding to universities to help students take on the demands of university and succeed. Universities can offer scholarships, tutorial assistance, mentoring, safe cultural spaces and other personal support services, in accordance with the Indigenous Student Assistance Grants Guidelines 2017, made under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth).
1.2 These procedures set out how USC administers ISSP Scholarships to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from low socio-economic backgrounds, particularly those from rural and regional areas with general education and accommodation costs.
1.3 All continuing Commonwealth Scholarships will be implemented in accordance with the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Education) 2010, and the relevant transitional arrangements set out in the Indigenous Student Assistance Grants Guidelines 2017. Students who were awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship prior to 1 January 2010, or an Indigenous Commonwealth Scholarship between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2016, will continue to receive funding for their scholarship, provided they maintain their eligibility, until they have consumed their scholarship entitlements.
1.4 Following notification of the ISSP grant funding amount for the year, the Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement will provide to the Scholarships Officer the budget allocation for ISSP Scholarships for the current scholarship year.
Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.
3.1 ISSP Scholarships will be advertised online and in relevant USC promotional materials relating to Scholarships, as well as via social media and other channels where appropriate. The Scholarships will also be marketed in advertising, media publicity, printed publications, website publication, at events and on displays.
3.2 The online application form will be made available on the University website and assistance to complete the form if required is offered by Indigenous Services and Student Services and Engagement. Students only need to submit one application form to be considered for all scholarships under the ISSP scheme.
3.3 The Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services will set an application date and no late applications will be accepted other than in exceptional circumstances (e.g. the University makes an offer to a student after the closing date for scholarship applications).
3.4 Applicants will address each of the criteria and give documentary evidence of eligibility, financial and personal circumstances and academic merit. For commencing students, academic merit will be based on their Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER).
3.5 Scholarship recipients cannot concurrently hold a USC Indigenous Commonwealth Scholarship and a scholarship of the same or similar type administered by Centrelink. Students that have submitted an application for a scholarship are reported for cross-checking against Centrelink payment records. A HEIMS check is also undertaken prior to submitting students for selection to the panel to ensure that the maximum number of payments hasn’t been reached. If a Commonwealth Scholarship has ended because the student has received the maximum amount of payments, they are no longer eligible to apply for Indigenous Commonwealth Scholarships.
3.6 A Scholarships Selection Panel will have responsibility for advising on, reviewing, making recommendations about, and monitoring the use of ISSP funds. The panel will be chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) or Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement (or nominee) and will consist of:
(i) an appropriately qualified senior academic employee who is an Indigenous person; or
(ii) an appropriately qualified senior executive employee of the provider who is an Indigenous person; or
(iii) a committee constituted by a majority of Indigenous persons, each of whom has skills and experience relevant to the role.
3.7 The Panel will place each applicant in rank order according to their measured economic and personal hardship based on information supplied and supported by documentary evidence, and their level of academic achievement. Scholarships are allocated based on need. The number of scholarships available will determine the cut-off to receive a scholarship. The panel will make a recommendation for the allocation of the scholarships to the chair of the selection panel for review and approval.
3.8 The University will make Commonwealth funded scholarship payments directly to students after the University receives written acceptance of the scholarship offer in accordance with the relevant Guidelines.
(i) USC Indigenous Equity Bursary payments will be made following enrolments checks at the end of Week 1 of classes in each Semester; and
(ii) USC Indigenous Education and Relocation Costs Scholarships will be made within 3 weeks following enrolment checks at Census each Semester.
3.9 The Scholarships Officer shall consider the ‘exceptional circumstances’ cases made by part time students and will make a recommendation to the Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement or nominee as to whether or not their applications should go forward. Consideration will be given to factors such as disability and significant carer responsibilities in determining inability to study full-time.
3.10 The University will not take over the payment of a scholarship awarded to a student by another University, where the student transfers to USC. The transferring student may apply for a USC ISSP Scholarship at the next available opportunity and will be considered on the basis of the USC selection criteria and in relation to other applicants. Such students will be eligible for only the balance of the initial scholarship awarded by the other University.
4. Maintaining eligibility
4.1 Scholarship holders are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress. The University will monitor academic performance under the Monitoring Academic Progress and Exclusion – Academic Policy and associated procedures.
4.1.1 A Scholarship holder who is placed on monitored enrolment will be required to meet with the Scholarships Officer and the Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement (or delegate) to discuss the status of the student’s Commonwealth Scholarship.
4.1.2 The Scholarships Officer will then make a recommendation to the Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services as to whether or not the student’s Commonwealth Scholarship should be withdrawn. In making such recommendation the Scholarships Officer and the Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services (or delegate) will consider the individual circumstances of each student.
4.1.3 If the Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services (or delegate) makes a determination that the Scholarship should be withdrawn, that determination will be forwarded to the Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement for approval. The Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services will notify a student in writing if their Scholarship is to be withdrawn.
4.2 Students who are awarded a scholarship, but who withdraw from their program of study or are cancelled by the University for failure to re-enrol or pay outstanding fees and charges, and later re-enter, will not be able to access their initial scholarship. They must apply again for an ISSP Scholarship and if successful, will be paid only the balance of the initial scholarship up to the maximum amount of payments under the scheme.
4.3 Students who are awarded a scholarship and apply to take a leave of absence in accordance with the Enrolments and Graduation – Procedures shall have their scholarship held for the period of the leave of absence as per the scholarship conditions of offer accepted by the student, subject to proof of continuing eligibility under the Guidelines.
4.4 The Scholarships Officer will confirm the ongoing eligibility of Scholarship holders prior to each payment being made. Where scholarship holders fail to meet the eligibility criteria or fail to provide evidence of continuing eligibility they will be notified in writing that their scholarship is to be withdrawn.
5. Reviews and appeals of decisions
5.1 An applicant may request a review of a decision not to award them a Scholarship or a Scholarship holder may request a review of a decision to withdraw their scholarship. Such a request must be made in writing to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) within 14 days of the date of the written advice of the University’s decision.
5.2 The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will conduct a review of the decision.
5.3 The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will notify the applicant in writing of the outcome of the review within 5 business days of the review being finalised. Students will be advised on any appeal options, as per the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy.
6. Records Management
6.1 All records must be captured by all staff, at every stage of this activity, and should provide reliable and accurate evidence of business decisions and actions. All records must be captured in an approved records management system, in accordance with the University’s Information Management Framework – Governing Policy.