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Financial aid for international students in Australia during COVID-19

Hardships and financial programs introduced in Australia to support international students

These are uncertain times due to COVID-19 and it is understandable if international students to face financial trouble at the moment. The governments and universities across globe are trying their best to come up with measures to help international students sustain their expenses at this moment. Similarly, many Australian universities have taken the initiative to create independent emergency monetary and food banks to support international students facing hardships. Till now, Australian universities have already spent over AUD 110 million (approx. INR 500 crore) to assist international students studying in the country.  (Source: Australian High Commission)

Here’s a quick overview of how the Group of Eight (Go8) is mobilising the funds to support its students: 



Financial assistance and well-being support for students

University of Melbourne

COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund created to:

  • Support students from low economy groups who can’t afford latest technology-enabled learning services

  • Emergency financial assistance to students who have

    • Lost a secure source of income and are not able to meet basic living expenses

    • Lost their casual employment and can’t meet their basic living expenses. Besides, these costs don’t lie in the purview of the government

  • Fund genuine and reasonable costs of students who were about to start in Semester 1, 2020, and have to forgo their overseas study plans for now


Monash University

  • Announced a $15 million Student Compassionate and Hardship package to support students experiencing financial hardships

  • Offer assistance to students who have lost their part-time jobs, are away from their family, and whose families are experiencing job losses

  • The fund application for eligible students will be processed in two stages:

    • $500 immediate emergency payment

    • Payment of up to $7,000 after April 14


University of Sydney

  • Offering several bursaries and interest-free loans to cover essential study and living costs

  • The essential study living and expenses include:

    • Textbooks, journals and readers

    • Bond and rent payments

    • Phone, gas and electricity bills

    • Medical and dental bills

    • Travel/accommodation costs for compulsory placements


University of New South Wales

  • Up to $200 emergency e-vouchers for everyday needs such as groceries, data access charges and other allied expenses

  • Up to $2,000 of emergency grants based on the students' situation i.e. accommodation issues; disability or access; mental health; carer responsibilities or loss of a part-time job

  • Interest-free loans available up to $4,000 (to be repaid within 24 months before degree completion)


University of Western Australia

COVID-19 Financial Hardship Grant created to:

  • Provide financial hardship payment extensions to international students. For the same, grounds are set to award a short extension of time to pay for semester’s fees


University of Adelaide

Emergency financial support package to provide:

  • IT assistance for remote learning,

  • Accommodation for students in crisis, and

  • Food arrangements for students in crisis

Students eligible for the support package include:

  • Who have lost their part-time work,

  • Aren’t capable enough to continue their studies in the absence of financial support, and

  • Who have dependents living with them


Australian National University (ANU)

  • An additional $1 million of funds being maintained for emergency programs governed by ANUSA and PARSA to assist financially stressed students for this semester

  • Also, emergency grants are available to support:

    • Accommodation

    • Travel

    • Grocery

    • Textbook/educational IT resources for remote learning

    • Medical costs

  • Hardship scholarships maintained for students who:

    • Impacted by travel restrictions

    • About to join the university in Semester 1, 2020

    • Never studied at ANU


University of Queensland

The limited number of hardship grants to support students for a short term with:

  • Rent or bond

  • Utility bills (such as electricity, gas, water)

  • Public transport

  • Important study-related equipment

  • Medical expenses, which includes medicine, treatment and specialist appointments

  • Basic furnishing for establishing a living environment

  • Emergency relief (such as for family illness or theft)

  • Relocation costs caused by the crisis

  • Unforeseen school and childcare costs


Most Australian universities including the University of Melbourne, Federation University, University of Sydney, Monash University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University, Deakin University, RMIT University and others have come up with similar initiatives to support their students. You can speak with your IDP counsellor to explore these financial support packages in detail.  

Initiatives taken by the Australian government

In addition to risk-mitigation measures, the Australian government has also extended its support services for international students: 

  • International students who are staying in Australia for more than a year can access Australian superannuation to survive financial hardships

  • International students may choose to work up to 40 hours per two weeks  

  • Introduced flexibility in the regulatory framework. Thus, international students can continue with their education without any hassle

  • The authorities have chosen to be flexible in the cases where international students failed to meet visa conditions due to COVID-19 (such as inability to be physically present for classes)

  • Extended hours for international students working in aged care or as nurses to support the critical sectors

It is natural to be concerned about your study abroad plans and have certain doubts in your mind. However, it is important to address them and use this time for a making a roadmap to realise your dreams. If you have any concerns about your path to international education, we are there to address them. Reach out to us, we’re all in this together!  

Updated on June 2, 2020 

IDP Study Abroad Insights

For students like you interested in studying in Australia, we have a wonderful series – Study abroad Insights. This web series covers most commonly asked questions about studying in the country answered by industry experts.


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Is GRE compulsory or IELTS is enough?
by angelin
GRE/GMAT is not a mandate, however, for English-language requirements then IELTS is majorly accepted and often required by Universities.
How many backlogs are acceptable to get admission in Btech?
by Sandeep
If all backlogs are complete in the duration of degree, then it is acceptable.
Can I accompany my son to Australia?
by omkar nerurkar
Yes, you can apply on a tourist or visitor visa that will allow you to stay in Australia for 3 to 6 months.

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