University Introduces Humanitarian Scholarship

6 September 2018

This year, the University launched a new scholarship called the Melbourne Humanitarian Access Scholarship. This was created specifically for students who have applied for asylum in Australia. While the scholarship is a first of its kind, it has been criticised by the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) People of Colour and education departments as it does not “capture [people seeking asylum] on permanent residency or with citizenship”.

The Melbourne Humanitarian Access Scholarship is given to both undergraduate and graduate students who meet the requirements of having sought asylum in Australia and are enrolled as an international student. The four candidates chosen will receive an allowance of up to AUD$5,000 per year and a full fee coverage throughout the degree course.

Even though the scholarship has been created for those seeking asylum, the eligibility clauses has excluded those who have been naturalised or hold permanent residency in Australia. According to the University, these students are able to seek assistance from the Melbourne Access Scholarships.

UMSU People of Colour Officer Reem Faiq had a different view. “The scholarship does not take into account the fact that former refugees are very likely to be just as affected by their into account] the grievances that effect them even after their life status changes is deeply problematic…” she said.

According to Education Officer Toby Silcock, the University has structured the scholarship in such a manner because it identified the costly fees to be a problem for these groups of people.

“[The scholarship] will make a difference to a small number of people. It is better than what we had before which was nothing and it is comparable to other universities’ scholarships like Monash. It is an improvement that still needs a lot of work,” he said.

The two departments are planning to work together for the rest of the year to improve the current model. The two main goals are to increase the number of people who can access the scholarship, and have naturalised or permanent residents with refugee backgrounds have access to this scholarship—coupled with real practical commitments for support.

Applications for the scholarship are open from 1 October until 30 November 2018. Click here for more information.

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