COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund

Emergency Support Fund to provide relief and support for students who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

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.

The University is currently working through the details of the Victorian Government's International Student Emergency Relief Fund scheme and will provide information to students as soon as these are confirmed. We will publish details and instructions to students on this page as soon as we can.

What is the Emergency Support Fund?

We acknowledge that you might be experiencing unexpected financial challenges in relation to your studies due to this rapidly evolving situation. In recognition of this hardship, the University has introduced a new needs-based COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund.

This new Emergency Support Fund is designed to provide assistance to students who have experienced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The Emergency Support Fund has been created to:

  • Support 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 for students (eg desk and chair)
  • Provide emergency financial assistance to students who, as a result of COVID-19, have lost a secure source of income and can no longer pay for rent, food and similar necessities, where government support does not cover these costs
  • Assist 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.

To ensure that those students who need support are able to access it as soon as possible, please find below detailed advice on eligibility and the application process.

For coursework students, the overarching eligibility criterion to be considered for support from the Emergency Support Fund is that you must be currently enrolled in at least one subject in a coursework degree in Semester 1 2020. Graduate researchers may be eligible to apply for one or more categories (see further details under each category).

There are additional considerations for each of the support categories. If you are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate coursework degree, you can apply for assistance under multiple categories. Graduate researchers may be eligible to apply for one or more categories (see further details under each category).

  • Category 1 – IT upgrade and study support
  • Category 2 – Loss of income
  • Category 3 – Cancelled overseas study

An overarching limit of $7,500 across all COVID-19 related support packages (including the COVID-19 student support grants) will be applied, which will take into account any other grants you have been awarded by the University and other forms of support.

However, the University also recognises that there may be some cases where students have reached the support limit but are still in dire financial need. If you fall into this category you will be able to request consideration of these exceptional circumstances.

Category 1 – IT upgrade and study support

  • What is covered

    You will be able to request support to contribute towards the costs of IT hardware (mainly laptops), internet access (data plans) and office furniture required for remote study. Students who do not have access to all or some of these items are eligible to apply. The fund cannot be accessed to upgrade or replace existing items.

    You will need to provide evidence of purchase or, in cases where the funds are required to make the purchase, upload a personal declaration stating what you are purchasing with evidence of purchase provided at a later stage (we will contact you).

    Payments will be based on a pre-determined average purchase cost of a laptop/computer and monitor, internet access (limited period) and a desk or an office chair. Indicative amounts to be allocated are listed below:

    • 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

    Payments will be made on the first available fortnightly regular University payment day (after you have provided your bank details).

  • Eligibility

    To be considered in this category you must:

    1. Be either:
      1. currently enrolled in at least one subject for Semester 1, 2020; or
      2. a graduate research candidate who is not in receipt of a living stipend scholarship, and whose candidature has not lapsed
    2. Provide a general outline of the hardship you are experiencing and the impact on your ability to study (maximum 500 words)
    3. Either:
      1. Be 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
      2. Be a domestic or international student experiencing financial hardship. You will need to provide an online statement with a signed declaration as part of your application outlining the hardship you are facing and why you cannot purchase this equipment/furniture, including declaring you do not have these items currently.
    4. Provide evidence, such as a photograph, of why home learning is not currently possible due to previously needing to use University facilities for a study space. For example, you do not currently have a desk and/or office chair.

    A note on computer equipment

    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. A statement to this effect will be included in the outcome notification.

Category 2 & Loss of income

  • What is covered

    You will be able to request assistance to help you meet the minimum cost of living for the duration of the semester where you have lost a secure source of income due to COVID-19. This could include paid work, family or other sources.

    Outcomes will be made on a rolling basis. After you have accepted the offer and provide your bank details, a payment will follow shortly.

    The University will undertake a revaluation in late May 2020, at which point if income is now being received, including any Centrelink benefits not previously received, Emergency Support Fund payments may cease.

    An extension beyond 3 July 2020 will also be considered depending upon circumstances.

  • Eligibility

    To be considered in this category you must:

    1. Be either:
      1. currently enrolled in at least one subject for Semester 1 2020; or
      2. a graduate research candidate who is not in receipt of a living stipend scholarship, and whose candidature has not lapsed
    2. Have lost income that would ordinarily support the cost of your study. You will need to provide all of the following evidence:
      1. a signed statement on how your income has been impacted and how this loss of income has impacted your ability to study
      2. a declaration of your normal average income from employment or family prior to COVID-19
      3. a declaration of your current average income from employment, family or other avenues of financial support for the period ending 3 July 2020, and
      4. payslips, bank statements and/or personal declarations to support the above.

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.

    The amount awarded will be determined by the gap between the reasonable cost claimed and the settled amount by insurance, less any University or other grant support already provided.

    Payments will be based on an agreed amount as a contribution towards additional costs not covered by insurance.

  • Eligibility

    To be considered under this category you must:

    1. Be currently enrolled in at least one subject in Semester 1 2020, or 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. Declare that you are not in receipt of any other travel grants or other forms of official support from the University or other forms of support.

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

When to apply

You can apply any time until 31 August 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.