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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

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

Eligible students may apply for:

  • 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. If you are enrolled at 1 April 2020; can demonstrate costs in relation to travel and/or accommodation as a result of Australian Government travel restrictions; and can demonstrate financial hardship, please use this online form to register your interest in accessing the hardship funding support. Applications close 11.59pm (AEST) Monday 6 April 2020.

  • A tuition fee rebate for students completing 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.  We will identify students in this group soon and contact you with information about the tuition fee rebate.  

  • 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.

Students can apply for general bursaries if they are experiencing financial hardship at this time. A bursary is a type of scholarship awarded on the basis of financial need, designed to help cover essential living and study expenses. Bursaries cannot be used to fund overseas travel or tuition fees.

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, loss of casual work income.

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.

Computer support

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.

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.

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.

University accommodation

University accommodation means student accommodation at the following locations:

Some conditions depend on what you choose to do with your study arrangements. See below for details:

Semester 1 2020 arrangements

If you are continuing your stay with us in any of our student accommodation we will look after you. Your safety and wellbeing are our priority. We have implemented daily cleaning of all common areas in our buildings and we will keep you up to date with Australian Government directives and what they mean for you. Please contact us at accommodation.info@sydney.edu.au if you have questions at any time.

If you have decided to leave your accommodation but wish to retain your room during semester 1 so that you can return any time, you can do so. 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.

Students who defer or suspend to Semester 2 2020

The University will not levy rent or fees during the period your room is unoccupied, and the room will not be allocated to others until confirmation is received of deferral of your start date or suspension of your studies. Please contact the student accommodation team for further details on deadlines for cancelling or deferring accommodation bookings.

If you checked in to your accommodation prior to the flight restrictions, then returned to China and you have continued to pay rent while away, you will be offered a refund for the period you were unable to return to Australia due to flight restrictions which commenced on 1 February 2020.

You will pay rent from the time you check in to your University accommodation.

Students who withdraw from their studies

The University will not levy rent or fees during the period your room is unoccupied, and the room will not be allocated to others until confirmation of your withdrawal from your course is received.

Once confirmation of your withdrawal from your course is received, the room will be opened to the waiting list.

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 all week (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 Friday 3 April