University scholarships: your complete guide

So, you want to know all there is about university scholarships? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Get set to delve into all things scholarships and find out how easy it can be to get one (or more!).

We’ve pulled together all you need to know about applying, accessing and benefiting from university scholarships. If there’s a particular area you’d like to learn more about, you can! The good news is that it can be done while you have your cuppa. So, fix your favourite beverage, get comfortable and prepare to have all your scholarship questions answered.

Here’s what we’ll cover.

  • What exactly is a scholarship?
  • Types of scholarships
  • The nitty gritty of scholarships
  • Scholarships are for postgraduate students too
  • How to ace your scholarship application
  • One student’s story about scholarships
  • The impact of a university scholarship
  • How scholarships can help fund a PhD

What exactly is a scholarship?

So, you’ve heard about scholarships and know that they can help with the cost of study. But what exactly are they and how do you get your hands on one?

A scholarship is a grant or payment to support a student’s education. They can be awarded for academic achievement but there are also lots of different reasons and eligibility requirements for all kinds of scholarships, from location to course and community involvement.

Scholarships are offered through a university, but they can be funded by lots of different types of individuals and organisations. So, for instance, while Charles Sturt University offers scholarships, we also administer scholarships funded by businesses and community organisations in our campus cities, alumni who are giving back the gift of education, and government agencies.

The good news is that because different scholarships have different criteria and application, you could be eligible to apply for one, two, three… or more.

Read more about what scholarships actually are.

Types of scholarships

There are lots of different scholarships available to help you reach your full potential. Here’s just a small selection of the types you could be eligible to apply for.

Equity scholarships: can assist with the general costs of studying at university. They are awarded to students whose personal circumstances impact their ability to study.

Location scholarships: some scholarships are linked to where you live or how you’re studying. Studying at our Albury-Wodonga Campus or online? Live in a rural or remote area? There’s a scholarship for that.

Course scholarships: make sure you check to see if there’s a specific scholarship for the course you’re studying. You might be pleasantly surprised!

First Nations Peoples scholarships: do you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander? Our Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Achievement Scholarship can help if you’re studying an undergraduate or postgraduate degree full-time.

Read more about the types of scholarships you could apply for.

The nitty gritty of scholarships

We know that, like with lots of things about university, you’ll have questions. So we’ve sourced some of the most common questions that we get asked about university scholarships, and got one of our financial whizzes to help us answer them. Here’s a selection of scholarship FAQ.

Q. How can I improve my chances of getting a scholarship?

A. Simple. You need to meet and address the criteria. Make sure you share the specific reasons why you should be considered for one. Your story is as unique as you are, and your personal circumstances can help you become a lucky recipient if you meet the requirements.

Q. What can I use my scholarship money on?

A. Unless a scholarship states that funds must be used for a specific reason – like accommodation, textbooks or work placements – you can put the money you’re awarded towards whatever you choose. It’s all about what’s best for you and to help make your study easier.

Q. How many scholarships are there?

A. Charles Sturt offers more than 300 different scholarships each year which total more than $3 million. These include scholarships depending on which campus you’re studying on. Scholarships for online students. Course-specific scholarships. Community scholarships. More scholarships than you can shake a stick at, basically! So, which scholarship has your name on it?

Read more questions and answers about scholarships.

Scholarships are for mature students too

Think university scholarships are just for school leavers? Think again.

Scholarships are also valuable ways to fund either a postgraduate degree or a bachelor’s in a new field when you are looking to change careers.

Adam Poulsen wanted to pursue research into ways to alleviate loneliness in the elderly. And key to pursuing that goal was securing a scholarship. As Adam says, “without a scholarship I would not have the opportunity to pursue a PhD.”

Darren Denmead, however, wanted to return to his alma mater to study a bachelor’s in a new field, so he could move into a career that would enable him to feel he was giving back. Moving from marketing to teaching was made much easier for Darren by receiving several scholarships.

“The scholarships showed me that age was no barrier and, significantly, that others could sense potential in me. That was a wonderful, life-changing feeling.”

Read more about how scholarships can make postgrad or career change study a reality.

How to ace your scholarship application

Did you know that at Charles Sturt, we offer more than $3 million in scholarships each year? Imagine how a slice of that could help with the cost of study.

Here are some helpful tips so you can ace your application.

  1. Apply: it seems obvious, but make sure you apply! You’ve got to be in it to win it and there are so many scholarships that go unclaimed because people assume they won’t get one. We can’t stress enough: apply, apply, apply!
  2. Check your eligibility: check to see if you’re eligible for a financial hardship award. You may not realise what you can apply for, for instance, if you’re working to support your studies or you’re on a low income, there may be a scholarship to help out.
  3. It’s not as hard as you might think: putting together an application isn’t too tricky. If you get stuck, reach out to us for some advice.
  4. Address the criteria: make sure you answer the questions being asked. Also, the panel is interested in your personal story so make sure you include why you’re deserving of a scholarship.
  5. Read over your application: check you’ve completed your application correctly. Make sure you’ve attached any required documents and that your spelling and grammar is on point. Ask a friend or family member to give it a read and provide constructive feedback.

Read more about applying for scholarships.

One student’s story about scholarships

Want help reaching your goals? A scholarship can really help with the cost of study, giving your finances a boost.

Iain Wood had goals. But he wasn’t sure they were achievable. After all, he was a mature-age single father of three. He’d loved his job in the NSW Police, but was ready to make a career change.

Iain wants to be a teacher. And with his experience, he’ll make a great one. But to become a teacher, he would need to retrain, and study a bachelor’s degree. But how would he afford it?

Iain was a recipient of a $3000 Bathurst Teachers’ College Alumni Scholarship. And it was a significant step in making his new goals feel reachable.

“Having the financial support has had a flow-on effect. My current costs of living and raising my family can be met more effectively with my current income…Without this money I would have found it very hard to adjust my budget to be able to afford learning materials as well as day-to-day necessities.”

Read more about Iain’s story.

The impact of a university scholarship

That extra bit of money can make a huge difference to your Charles Sturt experience.

Whether is big or small. Buying textbooks or funding a work placement. Securing accommodation or getting a brand new uniform. Scholarships can make things a reality.

They can also help you travel the world.

Just ask veterinary science student Kaitlyn, who had her overseas wildlife conservation study trip funded by a contribution from the Charles Sturt Foundation.

Last year was financially difficult so being awarded the scholarship made the whole trip possible and I was able to extend my stay for a week to gain more skills and be a part of an amazing community.

Get inspired about where a scholarship could take you.

How scholarships can help fund a PhD

Is studying a PhD on your bucket list? You’ll definitely want to explore scholarships for researchers.

Kayla Kopp did just that and it has proved crucial to her being able to get the most out of her research studies.

My first scholarship was an Australian Research Training Program Scholarship. That gives me money to live on and funds to conduct my research. I also received scholarships from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and another from Meat and Livestock Australia.

There are a lot of expenses involve in my conducting my PhD – including buying feed and looking after the sheep. These scholarships enable to me to do more. Take more samples, do more lab work. I’m very thankful to those who’ve provided my scholarships.

Read more about how scholarships can help make doing a PhD possible.