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Financial support

General bursaries

COVID-19 update

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19, general bursaries are open to all enrolled students (including Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and international citizens) who meet the eligibility criteria. For international students, this eligibility criteria also includes demonstration of interruption to employment due to the COVID-19 lockdown from 4 July 2021 or after.

All other international students located in Australia who can demonstrate financial hardship for other reasons will be eligible to apply for vouchers for food and essential items.

If you would like to be considered for a no interest loan, find out more about the eligibility requirements and how to apply.

A bursary is a type of scholarship awarded on the basis of financial need, designed to help cover essential living and study expenses (apart from fees and non-essential items). General bursaries are available to all undergraduate and postgraduate students. If you apply for any form of financial support, you will automatically be considered for a general bursary if you meet the eligibility criteria.

All students are eligible to apply once per semester, with a limit of two applications per year. You must provide supporting documents to demonstrate your financial hardship.

Your application will be recorded against your student record for auditing and compliance purposes only and will be treated confidentially. Any personal or sensitive information submitted as part of your application will be managed carefully by the University as per our Privacy Policy 2017 (pdf, 219KB)


You are eligible to apply for a general bursary if you:

  • are a currently enrolled University of Sydney student
  • are currently residing in Australia
  • are making satisfactory academic progress (generally, a WAM above 50)
  • can provide evidence of experiencing genuine and immediate financial difficulty
  • have not received more than two bursaries in the same year
  • are studying full-time. This means:
    • for domestic coursework students - a minimum of 18 credit points per semester
    • for international coursework students - a minimum of 24 credit points per semester
    • for research students - the Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (EFTSL) of 1.0 per year.

If you’re studying less than this full-time load due to a disability and you’re receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP), you can apply for a bursary provided you meet the other eligibility criteria.

If you’re studying less than this full-time load for any other reason, you can apply for a bursary provided you meet the other eligibility criteria, but will qualify for 50% of the maximum amount of bursary.

If you're an international student, you will need to meet the additional requirement of:

  • demonstrating interruption to employment due to COVID-19 lockdown from 4 July 2021 or after.

International students

Due to the impact of COVID-19, international students are temporarily eligible for consideration for a general bursary in Semester 2, 2021. This access is dependent on available funding and is being reviewed on an ongoing basis. 

International students can be awarded a maximum of $1000 each semester if they meet the above eligibility criteria, including uploading the required supporting documents with banking records showing a balance of less than $3000 available funds.

If you’re an international student, applying for a bursary will not affect your student visa.

Exceptional circumstances

If you are experiencing financial hardship and do not meet the above criteria, in exceptional circumstances you may be able to access bursary assistance if you've been referred to Financial Support Services by Counselling and Psychological Services, Disability Support Services, the Gadigal Centre, a Student Liaison Officer or an Associate Dean, Student Life.

Supporting documents

To be considered for financial support, you need to provide the following supporting documents in your application:

  • bank account statement with transaction history of your everyday account, for the past 30 days
  • bank account statements for all savings accounts and investment accounts you hold
  • documents that show upcoming financial responsibilities (for example bills, invoices, quotes and calculations)
  • proof of Centrelink (if relevant).

International students need to provide in addition:

  • evidence of interruption to employment due to COVID-19 (for example, communication from an employer).

All bank account statements need to be in PDF format and contain:

  • the official header of your financial institution (e.g. bank name, logo)
  • your full name
  • the account number.

Screenshots, photos or CSV files of bank statements will not be accepted.

You don’t need to provide your academic transcript.

It is important to upload all relevant supporting documents or your application will be declined. You will need to reapply which will lead to a delay in processing your application. You cannot update your application after you submit it.

How to apply

You need to follow these steps to apply for financial support.

  • Submit a general bursary application through Sydney Student (go to ‘My finances’, ‘Scholarships, prizes, bursaries and loans’, then ‘Apply for financial support’).
  • Submit supporting documents including a recent 30-day bank transaction history, along with any additional relevant documents using the General bursary application document upload form. If you don't upload all required supporting documents, your application will be deemed unsuccessful.
  • If you would like to be considered for a no interest loan, please state this in a Personal Statement that should be submitted as a single Microsoft Word document and uploaded with your supporting documents. You will need to demonstrate your capacity to re-pay the loan to be eligible

In your application, you will need to:

  • demonstrate how you are experiencing difficulty meeting rental obligations and other living expenses in the immediate future.
  • provide your current aggregate bank account balance (including your account for everyday transactions and any savings accounts) which indicates an immediate need for financial support with your living expenses and to support the successful completion of your studies.
  • ensure all relevant bank accounts have been disclosed, bank statements are provided from the last 30 days and that no transfers have been made to other undisclosed bank accounts prior to your application.

If your current aggregate bank account balance does not indicate an immediate need for financial support with your living expenses, you will need to submit a personal statement. This will need to clearly outline your current financial need, what expenses the financial support would cover, and why the need has arisen. The personal statement needs to be submitted as a single Microsoft Word document. Alternatively, you may re-apply at a later date.

You can apply once per semester if necessary. If your application is successful you cannot apply again until the following semester. If your application is unsuccessful, you can re-apply if your financial situation worsens.

Providing false information

We expect all students to provide genuine, truthful evidence of financial hardship. Providing misleading information such as transferring funds to a hidden account is in breach of the Student Charter and will be dealt with accordingly. Such conduct is a very serious matter. It also increases the processing time of applications for all students and may delay the granting of funds to students in genuine need.

What happens next

Due to COVID-19, we are working hard to process the unprecedented volume of applications as quickly as possible.

We process applications in the order in which they are received. You need to check your University email address regularly after applying as we may contact you on your University email if further information is required.

Most applications are processed within three weeks, provided all your documents are included. After your application has been assessed you will receive a recommendation in Sydney Student .

If your application is successful, follow the prompts in the message to enable your payment. Payments will be made to your nominated bank account within 4 to 10 working days. Make sure your bank details are correct in Sydney Student (go to ‘My finance’, ‘Your finances’, then ‘Bank details’).

If your application is unsuccessful and your financial situation worsens and you are unable to afford your rent, food or essential living expenses, you will be able to lodge another application for consideration.

If you have questions about the outcome, contact the Financial Services Team at

Financial Support Service

  • Level 5, Jane Foss Russell Building, Darlington Campus
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Last updated: 28 September 2021

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