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Support and wellbeing

Your safety and wellbeing is our highest priority
We're committed to doing all we can to help our affected students and community members, whether you're in Sydney or studying remotely.

Mental wellbeing support

If you’re feeling anxious or distressed, you can talk with one of the University counsellors from Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Call +61 2 8627 8433 or +61 2 8627 8437 between 9am and 5pm (AEST) or complete the CAPS booking form to book a telecounselling appointment via phone or Zoom.

There are also a range of online resources available to students to support mental health, including:

  • CAPS Head Set Canvas site, an online resource that offers a variety of evidence-based information and practices. These are aimed at helping you manage psychological wellbeing to achieve your individual goals at university
  • CAPS self-help resources, which covers a range of topics to help you manage your wellbeing. 
  • Head to Health, a digital mental health e-resource
  • IASP Info, an online resource which may be useful in locating mental health supports outside Australia.

If you’re in Australia, you can contact the University of Sydney’s mental wellbeing support line between 5pm and 9am on weekdays, and 24/7 on public holidays and weekends, by calling 1300 474 065. Alternatively, within Australia these services deliver mental health support, too:

If you are a staff member who requires support, our Employee Assistance Provider (Benestar) is available to all staff online or by calling 1300 360 364.

The Safer Communities Office provides case management and support to students who have experienced incidents such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic/family violence or bullying and harassment.

Students can request support by email on safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au or by calling  +61 2 8627 6808 (Available Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5.30pm). Appointments are being held in person, via zoom or telephone upon request.

In partnership with the University’s preferred insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance, all international students who have purchased the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) policy with Allianz on or after 1 April 2019, are eligible to access Sonder, a health and wellbeing app. This is an on-demand safety and wellbeing app that offers:

  • multilingual support, available 24/7 via Sonder’s in-app chat or by phone when you need someone to talk to
  • specialised and practical COVID-19 support if you are quarantined or self-isolating, including delivery of essential supplies and daily welfare checks
  • reliable, accurate information and up-to-date safety tips.

To activate, download the app and create a new account using the email address from your OSHC policy.

Student support services

To help students remotely, our student support services are available online.

Contact us for advice, assistance, a consultation, or other support in relation to these areas:

We've also provided additional funding for our student representative groups' legal support to resolve student visa and tenancy issues as a result of the travel restrictions.

Speak with Peer Support Advisors

The University has established a peer support advising program for students who have questions about COVID-19 and impacts to their studies.

The team of peer support advisors are students who are trained in referring students to relevant information, University units and support services and can help students with a range of questions. The peer support advisors can also help students remotely via Zoom sessions.

Students can contact our peer support advisors during the hours of 12noon-7pm (AEST).

Please complete this form and you will receive a response to your enquiry.

Stay connected

Studying while social distancing is a challenge, but it's important to stay connected and active in the student community. There are many ways to be a part of student life from home, including:

  • read Student News in your student email every Wednesday to find out about upcoming online events and activities and for regular tips for remote study
  • download the TalkCampus app to chat anonymously with other students around the world any time in multiple languages. Access is completely free for University of Sydney students
  • get involved with #usdyonline on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WeChat
  • Join the University of Sydney Union (USU) and follow events and clubs and society activities taking place online.

Financial assistance

You can apply for general bursaries if you are experiencing financial difficulty. A bursary is a type of scholarship awarded on the basis of financial need, intended to help cover essential living and study expenses, including technology required for remote study. Bursaries are one off-payments  that you can apply for once per semester that are awarded if you meet the eligibility criteria.

A bursary application is submitted through Sydney Student, where required supporting documents including a bank statement showing at least the last 30 days can be uploaded. 

Both domestic and international students can apply. 

Domestic and international students may apply for interest free loans of up to $2,000 as financial assistance for personal matters, including payment of rent in private accommodation, purchase of food or technology, or loss of casual work income. Loan will need to be repaid within 12 months or before graduation (whichever comes first).

These loans are not related to, or provided for payment of, student tuition fees, repayment of loans for tuition fees, or other student ancillary fee charges. If you are interested in applying for a loan, contact student.financialsupport@sydney.edu.au

The Australian Government has introduced a number of new support options and amendments to existing payments to support those struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19. If you are unsure whether you’re eligible for financial support, use the Payment and Services Finder.

Domestic students
  • If you are unable to work or have lost work due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the government. Find out more information.
  • The Australian Government has introduced additional payments and supplements as part of their COVID-19 support package. Find out more and check if you’re eligible.
International students
  • If you are a student visa holder employed in select industries, you may be eligible to work more than the 40 hours per fortnight limit

Pandemic financial support payments for international students

International students who are studying and working in Australia may be able to access financial assistance when they are:

  • required to self-isolate or are caring for someone with COVID-19 (Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment) or;
  • adversely affected by a state public health order and are required to be in lockdown for more than seven days (COVID-19 Disaster Payment).

For more information on the financial support payments, including eligibility criteria, refer to the Services Australia website.

Study NSW has launched an International Student Welfare Services Hub, with links to many organisations and community services providing support and helpful information for international students. Services include food support, mental health and wellbeing, charities and more.

Tuition fee rebates for students who deferred or suspended in Semester 1, 2020 to a later semester

If you are an international student affected by the initial government travel restrictions at the start of Semester 1, 2020, and were unable to travel to Australia to commence studies, you may be eligible for a tuition fee rebate of up to $2,000 if you needed to suspend/defer to the Semester 2, 2020 intake for your course, or up to $3,000 if you needed to suspend/defer to Semester 1, 2021.

Students will only be eligible for one tuition fee rebate based on their original suspension/deferral request in Semester 1, 2020. Subsequent suspensions/deferrals will not result in multiple rebates.

If you are identified as an eligible student and in Semester 1, 2020, you:

  1. Suspended/deferred to Semester 2, 2020, your tuition fee rebate of up to $2,000 will be paid in Semester 1, 2021; or
  2. Suspended/deferred to Semester 1, 2021, your tuition fee rebate of up to $3,000 will be paid in Semester 2, 2021 – i.e. August/September 2021

If you do not return to studies in the intended semester of your Semester 1 2020 suspension/deferral request (i.e. either Semester 2, 2020 or Semester 1, 2021), the rebate will only be paid after the end of your completed returning semester.

All students eligible for the suspension/deferral tuition fee rebate who returned to study in Semester 2 2020 have now been contacted. If you fit the eligibility criteria listed above and you did not return to study in Semester 2 2020, if/when you do return to the University, you will be contacted at the end of your completed returning semester with further information to confirm your eligibility.

What is the ‘fee rebate?’

The fee rebate is a reduction in the usual tuition fees charged that will be applied to eligible students impacted by the Australian government travel restrictions who were prevented from coming to Australia to study in semester 1.

All students eligible for the Semester 1 2020 online unit tuition fee rebate, and the suspension/deferral rebate who returned to study in Semester 2 2020, have now been contacted – eligibility was determined through enrolment, system access location and visa entry data.

Please note that if the University’s records indicate that you do not meet the eligibility criteria due to enrolment and/or system access location, any evidence provided to support visa entry data will not be considered and you will be deemed ineligible for the tuition fee rebate.

Who is eligible for a fee rebate?

You may be eligible for a rebate against your tuition fees based on your original suspension/deferral request circumstances in Semester 1, 2020. All students who are deemed eligible have been/will be contacted directly.

How can I apply for the fee rebate?

There is no application process. All students who are deemed eligible will be contacted directly and will see the rebate applied against their usual semester 1 tuition fees.

You do not need to make an enquiry or contact the University to apply for a rebate.

University accommodation

University accommodation means student accommodation at the following locations:

If you reserved accommodation with the University and you were unable to travel to Australia, you will receive a full refund for any deposit paid.

If you travelled to Australia and stayed in University accommodation but left your accommodation at any time, for any reason, and do not wish to return, you will receive a full refund from the date of your departure to the end of your lease period. Please tell us when you leave your accommodation.

If you stayed in University accommodation but left your accommodation at any time, with the intention of returning at a later date, we will hold your room, it will not be leased to another student, and you will not be charged rent for the period of your absence. Please tell us when you leave your accommodation.

Please email accommodation.info@sydney.edu.au to let us know that you intend to leave, or that you have left, so that we can ensure you are not charged rent during your absence.

The University understands that it may not be possible for you to travel home, whether in Australia or internationally.

If you are staying with us, we will look after you. We have implemented social distancing measures following Australian government directives and New South Wales Health guidelines, and cleaning is occurring in all common areas throughout the day in our student accommodation.

Support and connection in your accommodation

Social distancing and remote study can create a sense of disconnection and isolation beyond actual physical separation from your friends and peers. Please find detailed information, regularly updated, on our website for support, international students and visas and health management.

E-Residential Life

The student accommodation services team oversees more than 150 events every month across all campuses in student accommodation. The transition to E-Residential Life is in line with the Australian government’s social distancing directives, while maintaining community events and initiatives that are fun and interactive.

Contact us at accommodation.info@sydney.edu.au or talk with your Residential Assistant.

Increased pastoral care

As you know if you live on Campus we will be in contact with you, if you would like us to be, on a regular basis. Please reach out to your Resident Assistant or one of our team members if you need any additional support.

The student accommodation services team, the Campus Living Villages team in the Regiment and Sydney University Village, and our trained student leaders, are all here to support you – don’t hesitate to contact any of us, reach out, ask questions, or, importantly, let us know if you’re not ok. We’ll look after you.

Contact our helpline

We have established a dedicated hotline to provide you with advice and support during this uncertain time. Note this hotline is available from 9am to 6pm on weekdays (local time AEDT).

Phone: 

  • 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864) if you are calling from within Australia. Select '9' for the coronavirus hotline. 
  • +61 2 8627 0010 if you are calling from overseas. Select '9' for the coronavirus hotline.

Students can also submit a query via the Coronavirus Enquiry form.

Australian Government helplines

You can call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

An Australian government hotline has also been established to assist international students with questions or concerns relating to their study and novel coronavirus:

Last updated 16 April 2021