Commonwealth Scholarships for Indigenous students

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Commonwealth Scholarships for Indigenous students

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Commonwealth Scholarships

The Commonwealth Scholarships Program is funded by the Australian Federal Government.

It aims to assist Indigenous students experiencing financial need, particularly those from remote and regional areas. Commonwealth Scholarships are available through all Australian universities.

There are four different types of Commonwealth Scholarships:

  1. Indigenous Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships (ICECS) provide students with A$2,637 * a year for up to four years to assist with general study costs.
  2. Indigenous Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships (ICAS) provide students who have to moved from regional or remote areas to undertake their university studies with A$5,276 * a year for up to four years to assist with accommodation and study costs.
  3. Indigenous Enabling Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarship (IECECS) provides A$2,637 * a year for up to one year to assist with the costs of studying a tertiary bridging program.
  4. Indigenous Enabling Commonwealth Accommodation Costs Scholarship (IECAS) provides A$5,276 * a year for up to one year to assist with the costs of rural / remote students who must relocate to access a tertiary bridging program

* These are the 2017 Scholarship values. The Scholarship values are indexed annually.

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Eligibility criteria

Basic eligibility criteria for Commonwealth Scholarships

You must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

Conditions Requirements
Citizenship and residency You must be:
  • an Australian citizen,
  • an Australian Indigenous person
Enrolment You must be a Commonwealth-supported student enrolled at the University of the Sunshine Coast, in one of the following:
  • Tertiary Preparation Pathway,
  • Associate Degree,
  • Undergraduate program, or a
  • Graduate Diploma in an area of National Priority (Graduate Diploma in Education)
Financial need You must demonstrate financial need, either:
  • through receiving a means-tested Commonwealth income support payment through the Department of Human Services (such as Youth Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment etc), or
  • by providing comprehensive information demonstrating financial hardship and/or disadvantage
Study load You must be enrolled as a full-time student, ie enrolled in 3 or 4 USC courses per semester, unless there are exceptional circumstances that prevent you from studying full-time. Circumstances that may be taken into consideration include disability, significant carer responsibilities or medical conditions.
Previous qualifications You must not hold an equivalent qualification or a higher one than the program in which you are enrolled unless such award is a prerequisite to the current program and there is no alternate pathway into that program. eg Graduate Entry Nursing

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Additional Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship eligibility requirements

In addition to meeting the basic eligibility criteria listed above, to be considered for the Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship, applicants must also meet all of the following criteria:

Conditions Requirements
Regional or remote residence Within the 4 years immediately preceding the commencement of higher education study you must have either:
  • have lived in a regional or remote area of Australia for at least 3 years, or
  • completed the final 2 years of schooling in a high school or college in a regional or remote area, or
  • have moved away from a regional or remote area to complete the whole or the majority of schooling at a high school or college in a major city, or
  • have lived in a regional or remote area of Australia for a total of at least 2 years, and have relocated from the regional or remote area of Australia to undertake vocational education and training (eg TAFE) for a maximum of 2 years duration immediately preceding the commencement of their undergraduate course
Relocation to undertake university study It must have been necessary for you to move from a regional or remote area in order to undertake your program at USC.
Incurring additional accommodation costs You must be incurring additional accommodation costs as a result of relocating to undertake your program at USC.

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Regional or remote classification

You must have relocated from a regional or remote area of Australia to be eligible for an Indigenous Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship or an Indigenous Enabling Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship.

To determine whether your permanent address is considered to be regional or remote, the University of the Sunshine Coast will refer to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Areas as described in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare publication, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure Australia July 2011 (PDF 423KB).

The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing offers the Australians Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Areas as a colour-coded map.

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How to apply

Applications for the above-mentioned Commonwealth Scholarships for Indigenous Students  are made directly to the University of the Sunshine Coast by lodging an application form.

  • Visit How to apply for a USC Scholarship to download the application form.
  • Applications for Semester 1 Study - Applications open 1 September and close 30 November
  • Applications for Semester 2 Study - Applications open 1 May and close 30 June

Please note: If you hold a Commonwealth Scholarship (CS) at another university, and then apply for and receive an offer of admission to the University of the Sunshine Coast, your CS will not be automatically transferred. You must submit a new Scholarship application at USC. If your application is successful, USC may award a CS for the remainder of the duration of your CS.

Ongoing eligibility requirements for Commonwealth Scholarships

In accepting a Commonwealth Scholarship, students must agree to provide personal information relevant to assessing on-going eligibility for a Commonwealth Scholarship to the University on request.

Ongoing eligibility means confirmation of:

  • full-time enrolment as a HECS-HELP eligible student at the University (unless you have been approved to receive the scholarship as a part-time student with exceptional circumstances)
  • financial hardship
  • satisfactory academic progress

Deferment of Scholarship/s

Deferral of a Scholarship or Bursary is not permitted by the University of the Sunshine Coast in the first semester of it being awarded.

Should you take a break from study in accordance with the Enrolments - Academic Policy after you have been in receipt of the Scholarship for at least one semester, your Commonwealth Scholarship will be suspended for that period. You may take up the scholarship on your return to study, subject to demonstration of ongoing eligibility.

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More information

For more information on eligibility, or assistance completing your application, please contact Student Central.

^ For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.

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