Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.
1. Purpose of procedures
1.1 The Commonwealth Scholarships Program assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from low socio-economic backgrounds, particularly those from rural and regional areas. Commonwealth Scholarships provide financial assistance to students from low socio-economic backgrounds to assist with general education and accommodation costs.
1.2 From 2010, the Commonwealth Scholarships Program became available only to commencing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students. Students who were awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship prior to 1 January 2010 will continue to receive funding for their scholarship, provided they maintain their eligibility, until they have consumed their scholarship entitlements.
1.3 USC is allocated a number of scholarships annually. In any year the University may deem students eligible to apply for and to receive both a Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarship and a Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship or to be the holder of any other University, donor or community scholarship.
2.1 The Commonwealth Scholarships will be implemented in accordance with the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Education) made under section 238-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
2.2 All undergraduate students will be notified of the criteria and application process for Commonwealth Scholarships.
2.3 The application form will be made available on the University website and will be available by request from Student Services and Engagement. Applications will be accepted in hard copy only, including documentary evidence as specified in the application form.
2.4 The Director, Student Services and Engagement 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).
2.5 A Scholarships Selection Panel, which is chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students), will be appointed annually by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to consider applications. 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. The panel will make a recommendation for the allocation of the scholarships to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for review and approval.
2.6 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 Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines.
2.7 Applicants will address each of the criteria and give documentary evidence of financial and personal circumstances and academic merit. For commencing students, academic merit will be based on their Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER).
2.9 The Scholarships Officer shall consider the ‘exceptional circumstances’ cases made by part time students and will make a recommendation to the Director, Student Services and Engagement 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.
2.10 The Scholarships Officer will arrange for payment to be made to students in accordance with an agreed business process as soon as possible after the Census Date in each semester.
2.11The 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 Commonwealth 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.
3. Maintaining eligibility
3.1. Commonwealth 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.
3.1.1 A Commonwealth Scholarship holder who is placed on monitored enrolment will be required to meet with the Scholarships Officer and the Director, Student Services and Engagement (or delegate) to discuss the status of the student’s Commonwealth Scholarship.
3.1.2 The Scholarships Officer will then make a recommendation to the Director, Student Services and Engagement as to whether or not the student’s Commonwealth Scholarship should be withdrawn. In making such recommendation the Scholarships Officer and the Director, Student Services and Engagement (or delegate) will consider the individual circumstances of each student.
3.1.3 If the Director, Student Services and Engagement makes a determination that the Commonwealth Scholarship should be withdrawn, that determination will be forwarded to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for approval. The Director, Student Services and Engagement will notify a student in writing if their Commonwealth Scholarship is to be withdrawn.
3.2 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 a Commonwealth Scholarship and if successful, will be paid only the balance of the initial scholarship.
3.3 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 and may take up the scholarship on their return to study, subject to proof of continuing eligibility under the Guidelines.
3.4 A scholarship holder who is accepted into a Honours program at the University and is unable to continue immediately into that program due to the faculty specifying a requirement to commence at a specific time, may have their scholarship held for a period, normally up to six months. The student must advise the Scholarships Officer of such arrangements prior to the census date in the semester during which the student will have no enrolment. Faculty confirmation of the arrangement is required.
3.5 The Scholarships Officer will confirm the ongoing eligibility of Commonwealth 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.
4. Reviews and appeals of decisions
4.1 An applicant may request a review of a decision not to award them a Commonwealth Scholarship or a Commonwealth 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.
4.2 The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will conduct a review of the decision.
4.3 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.