COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund and other financial or material support

Get the support you need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated: 03.51pm, 3 September 2020

COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund

There has been a high number of support grant applications which has resulted in a processing delay. We are working hard to process all applications as soon as we can, but you might receive your application outcome outside the previously advised timeframe.

Semester 2, 2020 Emergency Support Fund update

In recognition of the ongoing financial hardship being experienced by students as a result of COVID-19, the Emergency Support Fund has been updated to support eligible students with a contribution towards their living and/or learning expenses as they undertake their Semester 2, 2020 studies.

This page has been updated to now reflect arrangements for Semester 2, 2020.

Students who are ineligible for Semester 2, 2020 Emergency Support Funding and are experiencing significant financial difficulties and require immediate crisis support are encouraged to contact Financial Aid.

The Emergency Support Fund provides assistance to students in the following categories:

  • Category 1 – IT and home study upgrade for students from disadvantaged financial backgrounds who do not have access to and are unable to afford the costs of a computer and/or high-speed internet to support technology-enabled learning and/or contribute towards costs of home study.
  • Category 2 – Loss of income for students who, as a result of COVID-19, have lost or could not secure a source of income and can no longer pay for rent, food and similar necessities, where government support does not cover these costs, and are now experiencing financial crisis.
  • Category 3 – Cancelled overseas study for students who were on, or about to commence, an approved study overseas activity for Semester 1, 2020, who were required to abandon their overseas study plans as a result of COVID-19, and where travel insurance does not cover genuine, reasonable costs.

Students can apply for multiple categories, up to the overarching limit of $7,500 across all COVID-19 related support packages (including the COVID-19 student support grants and any ESF payments already received in 2020). The limit also includes any other grants or supports a student has been awarded by the University during 2020.

Category 1 – IT upgrade and study support

  • What is covered

    You will be able to request a contribution towards the costs of IT hardware (mainly laptops), internet access (data plans) and office furniture required for remote study.

    You will need to provide evidence of purchase as part of your application, or you can request an advance payment in which case you must agree to provide proof of purchase before 30 November, 2020.

    The grant allocation will be based on the cost of the items purchased or to be purchased with the following maximum amounts:

    • up to $1,000 for a laptop/computer
    • up to $250 for internet upgrades
    • up to $150 for a desk and $75 for an office chair.
  • Eligibility

    To be considered in this category you must:

    1. Be:
      1. currently enrolled in at least one subject for Semester 2, 2020, or
      2. a graduate research candidate who is not in receipt of a living stipend scholarship, and whose candidature has not lapsed, and
    2. Either be:
      1. a domestic student from a disadvantaged background defined as per the University Access Melbourne and Graduate Access Melbourne special entry scheme categories:
        1. Be the recipient of means tested Centrelink benefits or be able to provide evidence of receiving income from other sources below the average weekly income benchmark
        2. Be registered with Student Equity and Disability Services as having a medical condition or disability
        3. Be from a rural or regional area at the time of completing Year 12
        4. Be of Australian Indigenous descent as confirmed by Murrup Barak, or
      2. a domestic or international student experiencing financial hardship, and
    3. Purchase or have purchased the item(s) before 1 November, 2020.

    As part of your application, you must declare why you need to upgrade your IT equipment or home study furniture and why you are unable to afford the upgrades. You may also be asked to provide banks statements for your transaction, savings and investment accounts from 1 January to the date of your application.

    Have you borrowed a computer from the University?

    A limited number of computers have been made available for students to borrow. Students who claim for the cost of a computer will be asked to return any computer they currently have on loan to be reissued to another student in need.

Category 2 – Loss of income

  • What is covered

    You will be able to request assistance where you have lost or could not secure a source of income due to COVID-19 for Semester 2, 2020 and can no longer pay for rent, food and similar necessities, and you are now experiencing financial difficulties. This could include paid work, family support or other sources of income.

    The grant allocation will be based on your loss of income with a maximum amount of $6,500.

  • Eligibility

    To be considered in this category you must:

    1. Either be:
      1. currently enrolled in a coursework degree course in at least one subject for Semester 2 2020; or
      2. a graduate research candidate who is not in receipt of a living stipend scholarship, and whose candidature has not lapsed
    2. And either:
      1. have commenced your course in Semester 2, 2020 and have lost secure sources of income (eg employment or family support) or were unable to find employment in Melbourne as a result of COVID-19
      2. be continuing your course in Semester 2, 2020 and have lost secure sources of income (eg employment or family support) as a result of COVID-19

    If you have received a grant under Category 2 during Semester 1, 2020, you can apply for further funding, provided you have not reached the maximum allocation of $7,500 for both the COVID-19 Emergency Support Grant and Student Support Grant combined.

    If you have reached the limit of $7,500 and are still experiencing financial hardship and require immediate crisis support, you are encouraged to contact Financial Aid.

    As part of your application, you must declare how COVID-19 has caused a loss of or reduction in income or inability to find employment in Melbourne, and details about your financial position. You will also be asked to provide banks statements for your transaction, savings and investment accounts from 1 January to the date of application.

    If you are currently in receipt of Centrelink payments, you will not be eligible.

Category 3 – Cancelled overseas study

  • What is covered

    You will be able to request assistance towards covering some of the additional costs not covered by travel insurance, if you were on, or about to commence, an approved study overseas activity for Semester 1, 2020, but had to abandon your overseas study plans as a result of COVID-19, or incurred unforeseen expenses as a result of the COVID-19 disruption, and where travel insurance does not cover genuine, reasonable costs.

    The amount awarded will be determined from the gap between all reasonable costs that are claimed with insurance and the settled amount awarded by the insurer. The total eligible amount you can receive is $7,500 and will take into account any other University or other grant (inc. COVID-19 support grant) already provided by the University.

    • Funding support is provided as a contribution towards additional costs not covered by insurance, and may not cover costs in their entirety.
    • Students should review the Chubb Travel Insurance Claims Response – Coronavirus (COVID-19) updated March 19, 2020 (PDF 147.2 KB), alongside the standard Travel Policy Wording (PDF 2.1 MB) document and follow the travel insurance claims process. Chubb considered COVID19 a foreseen circumstance from 5pm on 22 January 2020 for Hubei province, China; 9am 2 February 2020 for mainland China; 4pm 2 March 2020 for all other destinations outside of Australia.

      When COVID-19 is considered a foreseen circumstance there is unlikely to be cover for any event related to or resulting from COVID-19. Students who commenced or/and booked travel and accommodation prior to the above dates, are likely to be covered and encouraged to claim against Section 6 – Cancellations and Disruptions (PDF 2.1 MB) due to campus and/or residential colleges closures. Under the policy Chubb may cover the non-refundable unused portion of forfeited travel and accommodation expenses paid in advance and/or any necessarily incurred reasonable additional travel or accommodation expenses and/or out-of-pocket expenses as a result of unforeseen circumstance outside their control.

      Note that each claim will be assessed by the insurer and this information is provided for administrative guidance only. All decisions relating to travel insurance will be made by Chubb, not the university.
  • Eligibility

    To be considered under this category you must:

    1. Have been enrolled in at least one subject in Semester 1 2020, or be a graduate research candidate whose candidature has not lapsed, or have taken a subsequent leave of absence as a result of overseas study being cancelled
    2. Have been on approved University travel which has been recorded on relevant University systems
    3. Provide evidence that you have lodged an insurance claim and that the claim has been processed (ie evidence of settlement)
    4. Confirm you understand that if you are in receipt of or have received, any other travel grant or other forms of official support from the University, these amounts will be deducted from the overall eligible amount of $7500.

How to apply

To apply for Emergency Support Fund payments you will need to complete an application form which will require:

  • your personal details
  • a statement on the hardship you are experiencing and the impact on your ability to study
  • All evidence required for the category of support you are requesting as outlined within each category.

Apply now

Contact Stop 1 if you need assistance with your application or are unsure about the application requirements.

When to apply

You can apply any time until 1 November 2020.

Outcomes

We will endeavour to process your application within 7-10 working days. If this turnaround time increases due to demand, this page will be updated with the expected wait time.

Once your application is approved, payments will be made to your Australian bank account within two weeks. If you do not have an Australian bank account, we can wait until you have opened one or make other arrangements.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible to apply, please contact 13 MELB (13 6352) or +61 3 9035 5511 if you are calling from outside of Australia.

If you are on Youth Allowance, Jobseeker, ABSTUDY or Austudy, and are thinking about changing your study load, you should contact Centrelink to see if this will affect your eligibility for payments.

Visit the Centrelink page for more information about Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY or Austudy, or for more information about Jobseeker payments.

Device loans

If you don't have access to a laptop or desktop device to study online from home, you can borrow a University device on loan. The University has reconditioned a number of laptop and desktop devices for student loan. These are not new devices but have been reimaged to connect to all University online services. Devices will be sanitised prior to pick up.

To access these devices, please register your interest with the Financial Aid team. The team will assess your requirements and connect eligible students to the device deployment team to arrange a pickup time and place, mindful of physical distancing protocols. Devices will include accessories (keyboard, mouse, power cords).

International Student Emergency Relief Fund

On 29 April 2020, the Victorian Government announced a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund for eligible international students facing financial hardship across Victoria, including students enrolled at the University of Melbourne.

In partnership with the Victorian Government, the University of Melbourne continues to distribute the International Student Emergency Relief Fund for international students facing financial hardship through the University's COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund.

The International Student Emergency Relief Fund comes with specific conditions around the maximum amounts payable to students ($1,100), the category under which the fund can be paid (loss of a legal source income for international students residing in Victoria) an assessment of financial need and requirements for co-contribution from the University’s existing support funds.

International Student Emergency Relief Fund funding will be included as part of eligible students’ payments from the University’s COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund Emergency Support Fund under category 2, 'loss of income.' This means:

  • You apply for the Emergency Support Fund to be considered for available funding (including the Victorian Government International Student Emergency Relief Fund)
  • The International Student Emergency Relief Fund is not a separate grant but is included within the Emergency Support Fund grant up to the existing cap of $7,500.
  • If you received a payment of less than the $7,500 cap earlier in 2020 and continue to experience financial hardship, you may submit a new application.

The Victorian Government’s scheme has allowed us to expand our COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund so we can reach more students in financial need. It also enables us to expand the University’s support to students who were not eligible for existing funding.

New eligibility criteria have been set by the Victorian Government on 27 August 2020 to enable students who have lost employment, but previously did not meet the eligibility requirements for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, to now be considered. This criteria is covered by our existing category 2, 'loss of income' eligibility.

If you are ineligible for Semester 2, 2020 Emergency Support Funding, are experiencing significant financial difficulties and require immediately crisis support, contact Financial Aid.

For more information on the Victorian Government International Student Emergency Fund and additional resources to support international students, including practical assistance, visit Study Melbourne.