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Financial Aid Opportunities for Minority Students

12 Aug 2020Study Hacks

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The entire world follows various movements that strive for social equity and justice. Australians work hard these days to provide equal resources and rights for minorities and indigenous communities. As a country, Australia has always represented a complex mixture of cultures and people of unique traditions and beliefs.

minority financial aid

According to the 2016 census statistics, approximately 649,173 individuals in Australia belong to the indigenous population, which is about 2.8% of the total population. Most of these people belong to the Aboriginal origin, while only 5% constitute Torres Strait Islanders. Speaking of mixed origins, it is only 4.1%. The information regarding South Sea Islanders varies with the estimates ranging between 15,000 and 20,000 representatives. Considering the numbers, there is a strong necessity to preserve the culture of the Aboriginal people and provide due access to education and financial aid opportunities.

Minority Students in Australian Universities

Researching the number of minorities and indigenous students enrolled in Australian colleges and universities, it is crucial to address existing social initiatives of the UA Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020. In brief terms, it aims to study and improve the situation with education concerning the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. According to their latest minorities in education report, in 2017 alone, as the strategy has been put in practice, there is a record of 19,237 students belonging to minorities who have attended universities across the country. It can be considered as a breaking point not only for Australians but for the Indigenous students all over the world that strive for education and equal resources.

Speaking of international students in Australia that represent cultural or racial minorities, there are about 630,000 individuals who pay full fees. Their state in Australian education varies depending on the original country of their origin, yet they all face numerous socio-emotional challenges. Those include additional financial burdens, racial attacks, harassment, and a different set of resources. All these disturbing factors also affect the number of Aboriginal students enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide. As a rule, most Aboriginal students that apply for higher education are in the minority and are mostly older than their university peers. However, there were 30,000 Aboriginal people with a university degree in Australia in 2014 compared to 25,000 in 2010 or only 3,600 in 1991.

Going further to 2015, we can see 15,585 Aboriginal students that were enrolled in a university, which is only about 1.6% of existing domestic enrolments. In 2019, the average annual growth of enrolments among minorities constituted 8%. Even though there is a 54% increase of minority graduates, the percentage of university staff of Aboriginal origin remains mostly unchanged from 2011 to 2019, being at 1%.

All this information shows that numerous underlying reasons make it rather difficult for Indigenous students to get enrolled; one of them being the lack of financial help and resources. Essentially, not many students with a minority status know that there are many educational opportunities to study without all these excessive payments. There are scholarships, grants, and special foundations like UA Indigenous Strategy 2017-20. This initiative, in particular, has 39 member universities, which have already made a significant impact on increased affordability and the special enrolment conditions.

The Aboriginal, Minorities & Indigenous People Scholarships

Award of A$2,755 a year (up to three years of education) aims to help with the general tuition costs.

Eligibility criteria require identification as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. Additionally, it is necessary to meet specific low socio-economic status, which will be discussed in private. If you have Centrelink benefits like Austudy or Youth Allowance payments, it is already an advantage. Students must be enrolled full-time. 

The deadline is from 1 January to 30 June or 1 July to 31 December each year.

Considering that there are over 150 Aboriginal languages in Australia currently in use, this particular award aims to honour early education teachers and Shirley Harper who had a significant contribution to the field of education. 

The scholarship valued at $4,000 (for up to four years) is provided for financially disadvantaged aboriginal full-time students currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Education. 

Requirements for application include showing a financial need status and passing an interview as a part of a scholarship selection process. There are no age restrictions or any other special requirements. 

The deadline is absent since it is discussed in private as long as the eligibility criteria are met.

The award of $5,500, which is paid in three definite instalments, is given to the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students who are part of a relevant undergraduate UniSA Online course.

Eligibility requires an enrollment that is a minimum of two courses or at least one course part-time. A student must be in their first academic year, currently at census date. Before submission of a written personal statement, a student must prove identity as a representative of indigenous people and be accepted as such in the relevant community that a student has lived or currently lives in.

The scholarship application deadline depends on a course chosen and the curriculum position of a student but usually runs between 31 June and 29 July annually. The application conditions may change, so always double-check it when applying.

This $6000 value award assists non-recent school students that experience financial hardships or other disadvantages that prevent them from entering or continuing their undergraduate studies.

Eligibility includes being an Australian citizen or permanent resident, high academic achievements, financial hardship, or belonging to minorities.

Deadline: 29 August 2020 - 31 December 2020.

This scholarship of $10,000 (paid per year for 4 years) is aimed at students who have been identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander individuals. It goes under the Confirmation Identity Policy of 2015. Students must apply via the Gadigal Program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Requirements: A completion of NSW Higher School Certification is necessary with a minimum ATAR of 85 or being equal to it. Planning to start one's studies in the year a scholarship is given is recommended.

Established in 2017, this particular award has an open deadline date starting from the 5 June 2020 until further notification.

Additional Financial Aid Resources for Minority Students in Australia

Although the title suggests that it is for accountants, it is a resource that explains how minority students and indigenous people may receive financial aid help. Starting with a famous Abstudy program to the High Education Loan Program in Australia, there are helpful links that provide detailed information for any case.

Bringing over thirty national universities in Australia together, Universities Australia (UA) provides contacts with various governmental agencies, financial institutions, Indigenous higher education boards, and community connections for minorities in Australia. It is an efficient way to receive due financial aid for a student's particular circumstances.

Regardless if you belong to different ethnicity, rural, regional or ethnic groups as a student in Australia, this government-run resource offers information about support for students, financial payments, a way to fill relevant complaints or receive legal protection if necessary.

In effect since 19 June 2020, the government has issued several changes to the Commonwealth Supported Place and the other initiatives like SA-HELP or FEE-HELP. Nevertheless, the programs are still active for minorities and are worth checking out.

Why Should Minority & Indigenous Students Apply for Financial Aid?

Regardless if you belong to the Aboriginal, Torres Island people, or represent one of the Filipino students in Australia, being in the minority is a solid reason to ask for help and apply for financial aid. There are at least four reasons why it is crucial for your future education and success:

  1. Privacy and governmental support. These scholarships always review your particular situation in private, which means studying your family and financial situation.
  2. Any government-issued scholarship is your right as an underprivileged or indigenous person living in poor conditions or the rural area. Such scholarships also stand for additional tutoring and social help, so never neglect it.
  3. Future employment. Most grants for minority students in Australia are given by special funds who always connect future graduates with additional employment options.
  4. Additional financial safety. Applying for financial aid is what helps you to stay safe in any situation, be it health or family problems, failed grades, or even a decision to switch chosen majors.

The Challenges Ahead

Although it is not often discussed in the media and there are only brief reports online, minority students in Australia - be it Aboriginal people, ethnic groups, or foreigners - face way more challenges and financial burdens. While some of them are not able to support themselves financially, they might also feel a lack of self-esteem and confidence to apply for higher education. That is the reason why even small financial help can make a major difference in the life of an average minority student. Take your chance, apply for a fitting scholarship, and receive more than payments as every scholarship award stands for social recognition and legal protection.

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