So you want to go to University. You think you will get the marks and have an idea of which University you want to go to, but you’re not sure on how you are going to afford it!

University costs money. You will need to pay for accommodation, food, mobile phone bills, electricity, text books, bus fares… it all adds up! So how do you afford this when you are only working part time or receiving Abstudy or Youth Allowance?


Scholarships are one way to help pay some of these costs, and there are HEAPS to choose from! Many are specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

For example, you might be looking to go to James Cook University to study accounting, where there is currently the Hugh Alexander Grierson Trust Bursary. This scholarship is open until 31 January 2015. It’s $5,000 for each year of study and can be used for living allowance (food or board), study resources (a laptop for example), costs associated with University study and residential costs. How great is that!

If you’re looking to go to the Australian Catholic University at Strathfield or North Sydney campuses to study business, at the moment there’s the St Vincent de Paul Society-Broken Bay Central Council Indigenous Scholarships. These are three scholarships which are open until 8 March 2015. They’re valued at $6,000 each year for three years and can be used to spend on costs associated with University study.

How do I find out more about these scholarships?

Go to our Scholarships page and look at our Want To Find More Scholarships… section. Here you will find some great websites that can direct you to the many different scholarships out there. There are literally hundreds! The two examples given above were found on the The Aspirations Initiative website that is titled Indigenous Scholarships on our Scholarships webpage. The hard work of finding scholarships is done for you!

But I feel shame applying for a Scholarship or what if I apply and don’t get it?

DON’T FEEL SHAME – If you don’t apply for scholarships then they could stop being offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and instead offered to other students who aren’t Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The truth is, there are scholarships out there for all different types of people. There is no shame in applying for scholarships that are for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

As far as not applying for a scholarship because you might not get it, look at it this way – what if you do get it? How will it help you and your family by having this scholarship to get you through University and get a good paying job? In sport, do you walk off the court or field before the game starts because you could lose the game? Do you not bother with an exam because you can’t pass? No! You go and be the best you can. You’ve got to at least try, because you’ll be the better for it!

Our relationship manager, Damien Foley, was lucky enough to have received an Equity-Based Merit Scholarship when he attended the University of Newcastle. This paid for his course fees while he maintained a pass average. It made a great difference to him when he finished as he didn’t have to pay back the costs of the course.

How many can I apply for?

As many as possible! Apply for as many of the scholarships that you’re eligible for. The more you apply for, the more chance you have of getting one. As they say, you have to be in it to win it!

But I don’t know how to complete the application form. Who can help me?

If you’re unable to find someone to help you, call the scholarship’s contact person for help. Many of the Indigenous units of Universities and other areas, that handle scholarships and enrolments, are helpful. While they won’t complete it for you, they can help at explaining some of the questions.

If, after all this, you are still having difficulty, call a Relationship Manager at Indigenous Accountants Australia. We will assist you where possible or give you the contact details of who can help.

Good luck with your scholarship applications and your University course!

Stay connected