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.

Last updated: 01.25pm, 30 June 2020

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.

Emergency Support Fund eligibility expanded

We have expanded eligibility under category 2, ‘loss of income’ to include loss of anticipated income for students with demonstrable hardship. This includes first year undergraduate students with no prior or current employment experience, and other eligible students who are new to the University having relocated from overseas, interstate or regional Victoria, who have lost an anticipated source of income, or were unable to secure a source of income as had expected, due to COVID-19. Find out more.

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 or could not secure a source of income and can no longer pay for rent, food and similar necessities, where government support (other than the Victorian Government International Student Emergency Relief Fund) 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.

International Student Emergency Relief Fund

The Victorian Government has announced a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund for international students facing financial hardship.

The University of Melbourne welcomes this funding support from the Victorian Government which supplements the University’s Emergency Support Fund enabling us to support more students who may be experiencing very real hardship as a result of COVID-19.

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.

The 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:

  • Students apply once to 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 have submitted an Emergency Support Fund application, you don’t need to apply again. However, if you received a payment of less than the $7,500 cap and continue to experience financial hardship, please contact Stop 1 to discuss your circumstances.

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

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. Find out more about Emergency Support Fund categories below.

If you have not yet applied for the Emergency Support Fund, find out more and apply. We have also extended the application date to 30 September 2020.

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 be either:

    1. currently enrolled in a coursework degree course 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

    And fall into either of the following two categories:

    1. Loss of income (all students)
      You may be eligible under this category if you have lost income that would ordinarily support the cost of your study. You will need to provide all of the following evidence:
      1. a declaration of 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.
    2. Loss of anticipated income (students who commenced a degree with the University of Melbourne in 2020)
      You may be eligible under this category if you are a student who has lost anticipated income and are experiencing demonstrable hardship. This includes first year undergraduate students with no prior or current employment experience, and other eligible students who are new to the University having relocated from overseas, interstate or regional Victoria, who have lost an anticipated source of income, or were unable to secure a source of income as had expected, due to COVID-19. 

      You will need to provide all of the following evidence: 
      1. a declaration of how you had intended to secure a source of income, why this did not eventuate and how this lack of income has impacted your ability to study
      2. a declaration of your current average income from employment, family or other avenues of financial support for the period ending 3 July 2020, and
      3. bank statements from the period spanning January 2020 to the time of application.

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. 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. 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 30 September 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.