Students sitting on internal lawns of sandstone Quadrangle building

Positive outcomes from targeted support for low SES students

21 December 2023
Hundreds of low SES scholarship students have completed their first year at the University of Sydney, demonstrating the positive impact of targeted support for students traditionally under-represented in higher education.

Thirty-six percent more students from low socioeconomic areas began their degrees at the University of Sydney in 2023, driven by the new MySydney Entry and Scholarship Scheme, a commitment of the University’s 10-year strategy. Results from a survey of the first MySydney cohort show that targeted assistance during the year has contributed to high levels of confidence, belonging and connection. MySydney students also reported they know how to seek and receive support relevant to their circumstances.

MySydney students receive $8500 per annum for the duration of their undergraduate degree, as well as a range of non-financial assistance to help them navigate the University, succeed with their studies and connect with peers. Support includes access to the MySydney Lounge, regular check-ins, academic language and communication workshops, networking opportunities and social events.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott AO, said the mark of success for the University was not just attracting students from different backgrounds, but supporting them to stay and thrive.

“In its first year MySydney has been phenomenally successful in opening our doors to hundreds of talented students who otherwise might not have considered Sydney to be the university for them.

“As we approach the end of 2023, we’re really pleased to see that having the right support available is having a sustained positive impact on the confidence of MySydney students to succeed.

“I’m delighted that MySydney students have told us they not only feel confident they can financially support themselves during their university studies, they also feel part of a learning community and have opportunities to meaningfully connect with other students, which is so important for the transition from school to uni.”

Students end the year on a high note

Two female students standing on the steps of side entrance to Quadrangle building

MySydney students Tina Tran and Heather Sengmany

Heather Sengmany from Cabramatta began a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies (majoring in History) this year and said the MySydney scholarship influenced her decision to go to university.

“Cost and a lack of confidence meant I’d previously anticipated not enrolling at any university, but the scholarship encouraged me to try, specifically at Sydney,” said Heather.

During the year Heather took part in a number of support and social activities and became a MySydney Scholar Leader, helping to evolve the program for next year’s intake.

“It has created so many opportunities for me, including going to events where I’ve met people I’ve made a connection with. The opportunity to become a MySydney Scholar Leader has also been amazing as I’m able to gain experience through the role and input ideas into new initiatives.”

Bachelor of Social Work student Tina Tran, from Fairfield, said the financial support has helped her with travel expenses and having the right equipment – she recently bought an iPad to replace the bulky laptop she was carrying around. Tina is also a MySydney Scholar Leader as well as Vice-President of the Tea Society and Liaison Officer for the Education and Social Work Society.

“My favourite support activity is the MySydney Lounge, where I’ve been able to ask questions about my studies and participate in fun activities such as painting,” said Tina.

“But what I’ve enjoyed most about uni so far is meeting lots of new people and getting involved in these leadership roles – they’ve allowed me to have a sense of belonging at the university.”

Alex Andrevski holding an electric guitar in front of the Conservatorium of Music building

MySydney student Alex Andrevski is pursuing his passion for metal guitar

Alex Andrevski from Doonside has been able to pursue his passion for metal guitar through a Bachelor of Music at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He said his first year at university has been a big change from high school but he made friends easily and loves studying contemporary music at the Con. 

“The most enjoyable part has been meeting new people and finally being able to express myself.

“I’ve used the [scholarship] money to buy a MIDI keyboard and I’m about to buy an 8-string Strandberg guitar. Other uni students might buy textbooks or laptops, but I’ve been able to buy musical instruments.”

Killara Ulm

Media & Public Relations Adviser (Central)

Related articles