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As part of our Education for All Campaign the Refugee Council has been working with universities to provide scholarships to people seeking asylum. Unlike holders of permanent humanitarian visas, people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary protection visas are not eligible for programs and concessions designed to assist students with financing tertiary education. Without government support or university scholarships, these people are forced to pay expensive international student fees to attend TAFE, universities and other institutions.

A number of universities have now started providing scholarships to people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary visas. You can see the scholarship information below. It should be noted that because of the significant financial barriers many people face, the reality is that unless the scholarship covers the entire cost of tuition the course will be inaccessible to most people. That is why we have only highlighted universities which provide 100% full-fee waiver scholarships.

For more information, if available, please click on the University’s logo.

          Monash University    University of Adelaide

    Federation University       Image result for swinburne logo    Victoria University

University of Canberra      Charles Sturt University logo

Victoria offers scholarships for TAFE and VET

The Victorian State Government and other organisations have now started providing scholarships to people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary visas.

The Victorian state government has expanded training opportunities for people seeking asylum and refugees. The Asylum Seeker VET Program, will expand from 300 places to 3,000 and for the first time, refugees on temporary visas will be eligible to enroll.

Click here for more information.

NSW will change eligibility requirements to support refugees and asylum seekers into training and jobs

From 1 January 2017, the NSW Government will change its Smart and Skilled eligibility requirements to support refugees and asylum seekers into training and jobs. The government will expand access to government subsidised vocational education and training under Smart and Skilled for holders of bridging visas, temporary humanitarian concern visas and temporary humanitarian stay visas. Importantly, asylum seekers and refugees who commence their training from 1 January 2017 will be able to access fee-free training under Smart and Skilled for all qualifications up to Certificate IV level. This is an important initiative which will allow them to gain access to the training they need to find employment.

Click here for more information

ACT offers subsidised training for people on bridging visas and temporary protection

The Australian Capital Territory government that it has extended eligibility for its Skilled Capital program and Australian Apprenticeships to people on bridging visas and temporary protection visas. The two programs offer training from Certificate II to Diploma level in many areas. The ACT’s Skilled Capital program offers a comprehensive range of services to provide support to complete the training that is right for them. The Australian Apprenticeships program enables employers to work with training providers to ensure training is appropriate for their business needs.

Click here for more information

Policy implications for TPV and SHEV holders

Further, there is another barrier that refugees on temporary visas will face if they wish to pursue university level courses.

Unlike permanent residents, refugees on TPVs and SHEVs who require income support only receive payments through Special Benefit, rather than through other income support programs such as the Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Austudy. Recipients of Special Benefit who wish to pursue tertiary study can only continue to receive income support if they are undertaking a vocational course that is likely to enhance their employment prospects and which can be completed in 12 months or less.

As such, refugees on TPVs or SHEVs undertaking courses which take more than 12 months to complete will not be able to receive income support during this time. While other Australians are entitled to receive Austudy or Youth Allowance while studying, this is not available for TPV and SHEV holders. This is likely to seriously limit tertiary education opportunities for these visa holders. This policy also impacts on people being able to accept a scholarship from a university.

We are calling on the Federal Government to change this policy so that refugees on temporary visas can continue to receive income support if they are provided a scholarship through a university.

Read the impact of scholarships for TPV and SHEV visa holders here.

Other scholarships


Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) are offering the scholarships to help refugees settle in the community. Young refugees needing help with their school education and adults seeking local recognition for their qualifications will be among those eligible for new scholarships worth more than $90,000.

Forty-six scholarships, ranging from $500 to $5,000, will be offered in five categories, including:

  • Primary school
  • Secondary school
  • Vocational Education + Training (VET)
  • University
  • Skills & qualifications recognition

Please note that these scholarships are only available to refugees with permanent residency, and that applications for the current round are now closed.

Click here for more information

Image result for A M B foundation

The AMB Foundation was founded by Adriana Mercado and Marina Brizar – former refugees and current immigration lawyers. The Foundation was created to support students seeking asylum in Australia in their transition from high school to university. Full scholarships are being offered for tertiary studies as well as practical expenses associated with public transport and textbooks.

AMB are now in funds to start issuing grants and are currently getting in touch with educational institutions and migrant support and service providers so that they may consider nominating students for grants.  They are pleased to already be aligned with the University of Technology, Sydney.

For more information on the AMB Foundation, please visit: