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Support

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.

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 of up to $2,000 and you can apply more than once in 2020.

A bursary application is submitted through Sydney Student, where required supporting documents can be uploaded. After you’ve completed your application, go to our website to book an appointment to meet with a staff member to talk about your application.

Both domestic and international students can apply.  

Domestic and international students may apply for interest free loans of up to $1,000 as financial assistance for personal matters, including payment of rent in private accommodation, purchase of food or technology, 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.

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. Check your eligibility here.
  • 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

  • Depending on your visa status, you may be eligible for the government’s Special Benefit, for people experiencing severe financial hardship who do not qualify for another form of payment. Find out more here.
  • If you are a student visa holder employed by select supermarkets or as part of a nursing program, you may be eligible to work more than the 40 hours per fortnight limit

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.

The International Student COVID-19 Crisis Accommodation Scheme is a NSW Government initiative funding up to 20 weeks’ of free accommodation for vulnerable international students in NSW during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme is targeted at those international students in genuine hardship and will be delivered through approved student accommodation or homestay providers.

If you are enquiring about your eligibility for the Scheme and/or would like to request a letter of support from the University for your application, please register your details via the Eligibility and Letter Request Form. You will need to login using your University email to access the form. If you are eligible, the University will verify your information and email you a letter of support.

Through the Government's short online courses scheme, you may be eligible to complete a graduate certificate at the University of Sydney in 2020 at a significantly discounted rate.

The University is offering financial support for international students who could not travel to Australia prior to the beginning of Semester 1, 2020 due to government travel restrictions.

We recognise the challenges that travel restrictions caused for some students, who may have experienced:

  • access to only a limited number of units of study, prior to all classes moving online
  • disruption and distress caused by not being able to access on-campus resources and in-person classes at the beginning of Semester 1
  • unexpected costs incurred due to the travel restrictions

Hardship funding support

To support those students affected by travel restrictions who may have experienced exceptional financial circumstances and incurred unexpected costs, a hardship fund is available. Applications closed Monday 6 April 2020 and students will receive information directly via email.

Tuition fee rebates for students who:

  • Complete a full semester of study online. 
    If you are an international student affected by government travel restrictions and were unable to travel to Australia, a tuition fee rebate of up to $4,000 will be available if you could only enrol in the initial suite of limited full-semester online units of study. This is to recognise the initial period where these students had limited choice of units and did not have equal access and opportunity as the rest of the student body. 

    There is no application process for the rebate. The University will process the rebate automatically at the end of the semester and students who are eligible with be contacted with information.

  • A tuition fee rebate for students deferring or suspending to a later semester. 
    If you are an international student affected by government travel restrictions and were unable to travel to Australia, you may be eligible for a tuition fee rebate of up to $2,000 if you needed to defer to the Semester 2, 2020 intake for your course, and up to $3,000 if you needed to defer to Semester 1, 2021.

    There is no application process for the rebate. The University will process the rebate automatically at the end of the semester and students who are eligible with be contacted with information.

Tuition fee rebate FAQs

What is the ‘fee rebate?’

The rebate fee 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.

The fee rebates were announced when the Government’s travel ban was were only in place for mainland China, and at this time, the University was only able to offer a limited number of units remotely to students unable to travel.

The University understood that these students who, as a result of the travel restrictions, had a limited choice of “full-semester” subjects compared to other students who could attend classes on campus, which may also have affected degree progression. The fee rebate was announced in recognition of this.

In addition to this limited suite, the University also allowed students who could not come to Australia to access other units (“part-semester”), which were intended to only be delivered remotely until Census date, with the hope that affected students may be allowed to travel by this time. This group included some unitsin several postgraduate courses in the University of Sydney Business School. who opted to delay commencement of classes until 9 March in order to offer the majority of their units for remote delivery.. All students who enrolled in these part-semester units were not considered eligible for the rebates, as sufficient choice was provided so as to not have a significant impact on their progression. Where a student enrolled in both full-semester and part-semester units, only the full semester units were eligible for the rebate.

The rebates also take into account that students unable to come to Australia may have had a very different experience to their onshore cohort in the first few weeks of semester. Once restrictions were implemented domestically and the University went completely online, all students were transitioned into remote learning environment and had access to the same level of service.

All eligible students have been contacted eligible students regarding this – eligibility was determined through enrolment, system access location and visa entry data.

If you have not been contacted, our information did not deem you eligible. If you believe this to be incorrect, please contact international.fees@sydney.edu.au with corroborating information such as a scan of the relevant pages of your passport.

Who is eligible for a fee rebate?

You may be eligible for a rebate against your tuition fees for semester 1 if:

  • you were impacted by the Australian government travel restrictions and were prevented from coming to Australia, and

  • you could only access the initial, limited suite of units of study originally available remotely while you remained offshore, (prior to all classes moving to online teaching)

The rebate acknowledges the disruption caused by this limited choice, and by your experience during the first few weeks of semester 1, which was not equivalent to the experience of students in Sydney.

You are not eligible for the rebate if you were able to travel to Australia before the start of semester 1 classes

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 fee.

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

How much is the rebate worth?

The rebate will be $1,500 for each 6 credit points (usually one unit of study) up to a maximum of $4,000 for enrolment in units of study totalling 24 credit points.

If I am eligible, when can I get my fee rebate?

The rebate will be applied to the tuition fee accounts of eligible students at the end of semester.

Computer support

Students experiencing financial hardship may wish to consider applying for a general bursary or interest free loan if their access to technology is limited and having a negative impact on their ability to study remotely.

Please note all available devices have currently been allocated. Should further laptops become available, the link below will be re-opened for expressions of interest.

A limited number of laptops and desktops are available for loan from the University for those students who need them in order to study remotely. Students should register their interest in the University of Sydney Device Borrowing Service. Expressions of interest are assessed on a daily basis and students will be contacted by the University’s ICT Department in order to arrange pick up.

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 +612 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 also contact the University of Sydney’s mental wellbeing support line 24/7 on 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 Student Liaison Officers provide case management and support to students who have experienced incidents such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic/family violence or bullying, harassment.

Students can request support by email on safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au or by calling  +61 2 8627 6808.  Zoom meetings are available following initial request through emails and telephone.

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 1stApril 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 know where to go to find the right answers, in this time of distress and uncertainty. 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 online study
  • 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.

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.

We recently wrote to students advising them to leave all student accommodation, due to Australian government directives and international government requests to their citizens to return to their home countries. 

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, we advise you to return home until the Australian government and health authorities provides further information. Please tell us when you leave your accommodation.

If you are an international student, we advise you to make travel arrangements to your home country while flights from Sydney are available. A number of international airlines have scheduled flights from Sydney over the next two weeks. Check information published in the media for information about flights to your destination.

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 online 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 supportinternational 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

We’ll be calling you or knocking on your door every day.

The student accommodation services team, the Campus Living Villages team in Queen Mary, 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 Monday 22 June