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COVID-19 and international students, an update from the Vice-Chancellor

April 9, 2020
Dear students,

The impact of COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone at the University, and I know it has been particularly so for our international student community. Some of you may have seen media reports over the weekend that will have added to your concerns.

I am writing today to reassure you that the University is committed to supporting you throughout this period, whether you are studying online in Australia, in your home country or elsewhere.  We have developed a suite of financial and other measures to help ensure you can stay focused on your studies.

Financial support

For students who are experiencing financial hardship because of the impact of COVID-19, we have a number of options to help you.

  • Emergency bursaries – up to $3000 for international students who can demonstrate financial hardship due to Australian Government travel restrictions and self-isolation associated with COVID-19
  • General bursaries – of up to  $$XX to help meet essential living and study expenses
  • Interest fee loans – of up to $1,000 for personal costs , including payment of rent in private accommodation, purchase of food, or cover the loss of casual work income.

International students who were affected by Australian Government travel restrictions and were unable to travel to Australia, and were only able to enrol in a limited number of available online units are also eligible for:

  • Tuition fee rebate of up to $4,000 for students who are completing a full semester of study online
  • Tuition fee rebate of up to $3000 for students who are deferring or suspending their studies to a later semester.  

Please visit our website for information on accessing our financial support services.

Wellbeing support

We have a team of student peer support advisors who can answer questions and offer you guidance and friendly help during this time. These advisors speak multiple languages and can talk with you over Zoom. Register here to make an online appointment.

Our Counselling and Psychological Support Services (CAPS) offers appointments via phone or Zoom. To make an appointment with a CAPS counsellor, please call CAPS reception on 02 8627 8433 or complete the CAPS booking form.

The University also offers a 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Line . Call 1300 474 065 (accessible within Australia) or Text 0488 884 429 (to chat on SMS).

All of the other support services the University provides – academic, health, library – are also available to all students online.

Online learning and academic disadvantage

The Australian Government has stated that the change to studying online will not impact compliance with your student visa conditions. Find out more about online study and visa information.

For students from China,  it is important to know that the Chinese Ministry of Education’s Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) has now also issued a notice to advise all Chinese students that it will recognise education delivered online, and assure you that there will be no disadvantage to this mode of study.

The University is also committed to ensuring no student is academically disadvantaged as a result of the health crisis.

  • We are making adjustments to special consideration requirements and the use of discontinued and other grades for students whose studies have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 circumstances.
  • In addition to the existing Weighted Average Mark (WAM) system the University will also calculate a COVID-adjusted WAM at the end of your degree that excludes Semester 1, 2020 results, and this will be added to the final academic transcript for your degree.

I know this is an uncertain time and many of you are a long way from home and missing your family and friends. Please continue to keep in touch with your classmates, your lecturers and tutors, and let us know if there is more we can do to help you. By staying connected and looking out for one another we will get through this challenge, together.

Yours,
Michael

 

Dr Michael Spence AC
Vice-Chancellor and Principal

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