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Scholarships for Undergraduates Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy outlines the principles and guidelines to be followed in the establishment, awarding and administration of undergraduate scholarships for which Western Sydney University has primary responsibility.

(2) Undergraduate scholarships are awarded to undergraduate degree applicants and enrolled students, including Honours years both embedded and end-on programs, in the University's name and such other scholarships the University may determine to award.

(3) Scholarships offered at the University signal its commitment to academic excellence, and widening participation and are designed to:

  1. build the leadership and education capacity of the region;
  2. establish recognition of the University as an institution of academic excellence;
  3. provide support to prospective and current students who are able to benefit from a university education but who are financially (or otherwise) disadvantaged;
  4. position the University competitively with other universities in relation to student recruitment.

(4) The policy does not apply to:

  1. Prizes or awards or merit recognition;
  2. Postgraduate Scholarships;
  3. Higher Degree Research Scholarships;
  4. Bursaries or grants-in-aid, unless otherwise stated in the scholarship terms and conditions;
  5. Scholarships defined as group C in this policy; or
  6. Scholarships wholly administered by organisations external to the University, not including organisations that have entered into a formal agreement with the University governing the selection of students and administration of funds and student progress.
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Section 2 - Definitions

(5) Definitions for the purpose of this policy:

  1. Commonwealth Scholarship - scholarships which are administered under the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Education) which provides for matters under Part 2-4 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
  2. Donor - a person or organisation making a donation to the University as defined by the Donations and Fundraising Policy.
  3. Recipient or Scholarship Holder - the person to whom the scholarship offer has been made.
  4. Scholarship - an award made to a student during the course of their studies, on the basis of approved criteria such as academic merit. A scholarship may comprise in-kind benefits in addition to the cash component.
  5. University Account - the student fee account.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Principles

(6) The University will offer and support a range of donor and other funded scholarships to meet its commitment to creating a superior and engaged learning experience, including providing equity of access and inclusiveness.

(7) All University scholarships:

  1. may be awarded on a one-off or ongoing basis;
  2. may be intended for commencing or continuing students or both;
  3. will be available to students who study part-time or full-time unless otherwise stated in the scholarship conditions;
  4. cannot be deferred unless otherwise stated in the scholarship conditions;
  5. will specify the duration and categories of support;
  6. will have the eligibility, application and selection criteria clearly stated;
  7. will have criteria that are free from unlawful discrimination; and
  8. will use identifiable, equitable and transparent processes for awarding the scholarship.

(8) The University reserves the right to:

  1. withdraw or change criteria on offered scholarships at any time;
  2. not accept scholarship funds from a donor, or accept particular conditions on funding in accordance with the Donations and Fundraising Policy; and/or
  3. not offer some scholarships, or to not offer scholarships at all, in any given year.

Categories of Scholarships

(9) Scholarships at the University fall into three categories. These are:

(10) Note: This policy does not apply to granting of scholarships funded by the Commonwealth of Australia, or an Australian State or Territory (Group C).

  1. Group A - scholarships funded by the University or its entities;
  2. Group B - externally funded, named industry or donor scholarships;
  3. Group C - scholarships funded by the Commonwealth of Australia, or an Australian State or Territory.

(11) The current list of scholarships is available on the Scholarships Webpage.

(12) A recipient may hold a maximum of two scholarships simultaneously, if each scholarship is from a different group as listed above. The exceptions to this are:

  1. A recipient may receive an International Exchange Scholarship simultaneously with any other scholarships;
  2. A recipient may receive two or more Group C Scholarships plus one Group A or one Group B scholarship concurrently when they are identified as an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander;
  3. A recipient may receive a grant simultaneously with any other scholarships, unless otherwise specified in the terms and conditions of the grant.

(13) Some scholarships may only be tenable on a full-time basis, depending on criteria as outlined in the terms and conditions.

General Interpretation

(14) This policy must be read in conjunction with the terms and conditions applicable to the specific scholarship. Terms and conditions will be outlined in the scholarship agreement provided to scholarship recipients for acceptance before any scholarship offer is finalised.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Establishment and Approval

(15) Scholarships may be established to:

  1. recognise academic, creative or sporting excellence;
  2. recognise community contribution or leadership potential;
  3. provide opportunity for access to study from students of equity and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds;
  4. provide practical and degree-relevant work experience opportunities; and/or
  5. for any other purpose deemed appropriate by the University consistent with its mission values and goals.

(16) A scholarship agreement will be developed for all externally funded industry or donor scholarships. The scholarship agreement will include:

  1. the names and contact details for all parties;
  2. the term of the scholarship agreement; and
  3. a detailed schedule including scholarship criteria, selection process and conditions.

(17) All scholarships offered in the name of the University, its entities or partners must be formally approved by Academic Senate (Senate) regardless of the funding source. All externally funded industry or donor scholarships must be approved and established by the Office of Advancement and Alumni.

(18) Changes to the academic aims, structure, criteria and conditions of existing approved scholarships also require Academic Senate approval.

(19) The selection criteria for scholarships will normally be approved by the Academic Senate at the time the scholarship proposal is approved by the Senate, but may be submitted at a later stage for approval.

(20) The selection criteria for externally funded named industry or donor scholarships will be incorporated into the scholarship agreement, which will also be provided to the Academic Senate at the time the scholarship is approved.

(21) Interviews may be required, where specified, for certain Group A and Group B scholarships.

Part B - Eligibility to Apply

(22) To be eligible to apply:

  1. All applicants must be Australian citizens or have permanent resident status in Australia, unless otherwise stated in the specific scholarship criteria, and
  2. All applicants must meet the minimum criteria for admission to the University for the course for which they have applied.

(23) In addition:

  1. All Group A scholarship recipients must reside in or have completed their HSC, or equivalent, within the Greater Western Sydney region as defined by the University unless otherwise stated in the selection criteria.
  2. Group B scholarship recipients may be required to reside in or have completed their HSC, or equivalent, within specific Local Government Areas as defined in the selection criteria.

(24) Applications must be made using the relevant application form on the Scholarships Webpage unless otherwise specified and submitted by the relevant deadlines. Equity scholarship applications may be made via www.uac.edu.au/equity.

Part C - Awarding of Scholarships

(25) A scholarship will be awarded only if there are sufficient funds available to meet its cost.

(26) A scholarship may not be awarded if there is no suitable applicant available.

(27) In the case that the number of eligible applications exceeds the available number of scholarships, an order of merit will be established by the Senior Manager, Strategy and Campaigns using scholarship criteria, unless the selection is to be conducted by interview. The order of merit will be used to recommend recipients to the Chief Student Experience Officer for approval of Group A scholarships. Recommendations for Group B scholarships will be made to the Office of Advancement and Alumni for approval.

(28) The Chief Student Experience Officer will approve the awarding of Group A scholarships. With regard to Group B the recommendations will be made to the Executive Director, Advancement and Alumni for consultation and approval by the external funder or donor.

(29) Where the provisions of a scholarship require that applicants attend an interview:

  1. the selection panel membership will be specified in the scholarship proposal and approved by Academic Senate at the time the scholarship is approved;
  2. the selection committee can include individuals external to the University to form part of a panel;
  3. the selection committee will receive all documentation and will assess applicants' applications and associated documentation against the specific scholarship criteria;
  4. a selection committee will comprise a maximum of six members, with the composition of the committee ensuring a balance of representation and knowledge, including gender balance; and
  5. the selection committee will determine an order of merit, and the decision of the selection committee is final.

(30) A written offer will be made to approved scholarship recipients. In order to receive benefits, recipients must sign and accept a scholarship by signing a scholarship agreement that contains the terms and conditions of the scholarship.

(31) Scholarships will only be shown on the recipient's Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement for those scholarships that are determined on academic or academic-related performance and where ongoing requirements have been met.

Part D - Benefits

(32) A scholarship shall provide an allowance in cash, and such other benefits as the Academic Senate may approve including, for example, work experience and practical opportunities.

(33) Payments will be made on an instalment basis, where applicable, with two equal instalments made over the year subject to enrolment and academic performance and meeting any other requirements as set out in the terms of the agreement. Recipients must also meet the ongoing criteria outlined in the Progression and Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy if not stated in the terms and conditions of the scholarship.

(34) Recipients will only receive payment after confirmation of their enrolment. Recipients may receive payment before their confirmation of enrolment at the discretion of the Chief Student Experience Officer. Requests to receive the full annual payment in advance will not be considered.

(35) Scholarship funds will only be paid to the recipient's bank account or University account, as specified in the terms and conditions of the scholarship, and cannot be made to a third party.

(36) Full-time recipients will be paid the total value of a scholarship and part-time recipients will be paid 50% of the annual total value providing part-time study is no less than 20 credit points in each of the Autumn and Spring teaching sessions, unless otherwise stated.

(37) Recipients receiving Centrelink benefits are responsible for informing Centrelink of any scholarship income received. Recipients must seek their own independent advice on the effect, if any, the scholarship is likely to have on their eligibility for their Centrelink payment or any tax implications.

(38) Recipients who are undertaking units at another institution as part of approved cross institutional studies will be eligible to receive their scholarship payment for that session if the units are required by their degree but not on offer at the University, or, they are completing no more than 20 credit points at the other institution, unless otherwise specified in the terms and conditions of the scholarship. It is the recipient's responsibility to provide necessary proof and approval of study to the Scholarships and Student Advancement Unit.

(39) Recipients who alter their enrolment after payment of scholarship funds, and as a result have been overpaid scholarship funds, will be required to return the funds to the University.

(40) Recipients who do not action an invoice request for the return of scholarship funds by the date requested will have an encumbrance placed on their student record which will prevent them from accessing their session results, requesting academic transcripts, and graduating. The encumbrance will be removed once evidence of a paid invoice is confirmed by the Finance Office or at the discretion of the Senior Manager, Strategy and Campaigns.

Part E - Tenure

(41) Recipients must maintain satisfactory progress in terms of the scholarship agreement for each category of scholarship. The minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) requirement for each scholarship is outlined in the terms and conditions of the scholarship. Refer to the Graduation Policy for the calculation of GPA.

(42) Academic progress is monitored at the end of each academic session and where the minimum GPA is not met the recipient will be placed on scholarship probation for the subsequent session of enrolment as per Part G.

(43) Annual renewal of scholarship benefits will depend on the recipient maintaining satisfactory progress determined by the conditions for the specific scholarship and subject to guidelines in the Special Consideration Policy. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress will result in the withdrawal of scholarship benefits, after one period of scholarship probation as outlined in Part G.

(44) In circumstances where the recipient has changed courses and maintained their scholarship, only the current enrolled course will be taken into account when establishing academic progress. Results from previous courses will not be used to establish academic progress for the purposes of the scholarship.

(45) Recipients are subject to the University policies, procedures and guidelines, including the Student Code of Conduct and the Progression and Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Failure to adhere to and meet requirements of any University policy may result in the scholarship being withdrawn.

(46) All recipients must remain in full-time (30 or 40 credit points per session) or part-time (20 credit points per session) enrolment at the University in order to retain their scholarship. Some scholarships may require full-time enrolment as outlined in the scholarship terms and conditions.

(47) Group A scholarships allow for an Honours year to be included providing the length of the scholarship allows and unless otherwise stated in the terms and conditions.

(48) The scholarship will cease if the recipient graduates from the course at an alternate exit point.

(49) The scholarship shall be subject to annual renewal and may be held by a recipient for not more than the normal duration of the course when completed by full-time or part-time study.

(50) Recipients are subject to the Rules governing the degree for which they are enrolled.

(51) Once awarded, a scholarship and any associated benefits are not transferable to another institution.

Part F - Recipient Conduct

(52) Scholarships are highly sought after on a competitive basis and are usually awarded to high achieving students. In awarding a scholarship, the University expects the recipient to not only meet the requirements of the scholarship outlined in the scholarship agreement, but to strive to be an exemplary student. This includes behaving in a manner appropriate as an ambassador for the University, providing an example and being a role model to other students and potential students, participating in University events from time-to-time, and ensuring compliance with all University policies, procedures and guidelines. Where a recipient acts in a manner that prejudices the good name and reputation of the University in any way, it may result in the withdrawal of scholarship benefits.

(53) The University recognises that students, including scholarship recipients may at times have experiences at the University with which they are not satisfied. In these cases recipients must raise the matter with the relevant head of unit, or the Senior Manager, Strategy and Campaigns. Alternatively, the recipient may lodge a complaint under the Complaint Handling and Resolution Policy.

Part G - Scholarship Probation

(54) Recipients who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of their scholarship will be placed on scholarship probation for the subsequent session of enrolment, not including summer enrolment.

(55) Recipients placed on scholarship probation will receive advice to their student email address from the Scholarships and Student Advancement Unit and are directed to seek academic counselling and advice.

(56) Recipients may continue to receive their scholarship while on probation.

(57) A recipient will be allowed one scholarship probationary period during the duration of their scholarship.

(58) At the end of the scholarship probation period, if the minimum academic requirement is still not achieved, the scholarship will be placed under review for termination, in accordance with Part H.

Part H - Termination of Scholarships

(59) A scholarship will be terminated:

  1. once the full value of the scholarship has been paid in respect of the scholarship; or
  2. upon completion of the recipient's enrolled course if this occurs prior to the conclusion of the scholarship's stated duration; or
  3. if the recipient does not resume study at the conclusion of an approved period of leave of absence; or
  4. upon graduation of the recipient from their degree; or
  5. on the recipient's death, resignation or withdrawal from the University.

(60) The University will terminate a scholarship, and recipients may forfeit their eligibility for future scholarships, where the recipient:

  1. fails to meet any or all criteria, including satisfactory progress or any other requirements, of the specific scholarship including a breach of terms and conditions; or
  2. fails to meet GPA requirements after a period of scholarship probation; or
  3. is suspended or excluded from the University; or
  4. has been found to have breached University policies, rules and/or regulations;
  5. has been found to have breached relevant Commonwealth or State laws;
  6. has engaged in proven misconduct as defined in the Student Misconduct Rule.

(61) Recipients will receive advice to their student email account from the Scholarships and Student Advancement Unit indicating that their scholarship is under review for termination.

(62) The Senior Manager, Strategy and Campaigns will consider each case and make a recommendation to the Chief Student Experience Officer who will approve terminations for Group A scholarships. Recommendations to terminate Group B scholarships will be reviewed by the Chief Student Experience Officer before forwarding to the Executive Director, Advancement and Alumni for consultation and approval by the external donor.

(63) The termination of Group C scholarships will be governed by the prevailing Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines in conjunction with the University's internal scholarship procedures and conditions. For guidelines regarding the termination of all Commonwealth funded scholarships, see Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines.

(64) Where a scholarship has been terminated, the recipient may be required to reimburse the University any monies paid to them during the period.

(65) A recipient will be notified of a termination by the Scholarships and Student Advancement Unit via his/her student email account or to a postal address if their student email is suspended.

Part I - Appeals

(66) A recipient who has had a scholarship terminated, and considers he or she has evidence that meets the grounds for appeal, may submit an appeal, in writing, to the Scholarships Appeals Panel. Any appeals, including supporting evidence, should be addressed to the Scholarships and Student Advancement Unit and must be received within 15 working days of the date the recipient was advised of the withdrawal of the scholarship. Late appeals will only be considered at the discretion of the panel and if there are documented extenuating circumstances.

(67) The recipient will not receive any scholarship payments during the appeal process. Scholarship payments will only resume if the appeal is upheld.

(68) Refer to the Special Consideration Policy, clause (6) for the grounds to appeal. In addition to the Special Consideration Policy, grounds for appeal do not include misunderstanding the scholarship requirements.

(69) The appeal will be assessed by the Scholarships Appeals Panel based on the written application and supporting documentation outlining the recipient's circumstances which have precluded them from meeting the requirements of the scholarship.

(70) The recipient does not have an automatic right to appear in person before the panel. Appeals should therefore include appropriate documentation (statements from counsellors, medical certificates, etc.) to substantiate the recipient's grounds for appeal.

(71) The Scholarships Appeals Panel members include:

  1. Nominee of the Chief Student Experience Officer (Chair);
  2. Nominee of the Executive Director, Student Participation and Success;
  3. One academic staff member, nominated by the Chair, Academic Senate.

(72) The panel may determine to:

  1. uphold the appeal and restore the scholarship;
  2. uphold the appeal, but vary the recipient's required enrolment load and/or put conditions upon the continuation of the scholarship; or
  3. dismiss the appeal.

(73) The determination of the Panel will be final.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(74) For Group A and Group B scholarships refer to the Scholarships webpage.

(75) Group C scholarships are funded by the Commonwealth of Australia, or an Australian State or Territory. These are managed and maintained external to the University.