Australia Awards Scholarships FAQs for While You Are Here


Please be aware! You may find that in general rental accommodation in Sydney is much more expensive than in your home country! We advise that you start familiarising yourself with options for long-term accommodation (and their prices) before you depart.

How can I find permanent accommodation?

I have changed my address in Australia, what should I do?

Please go to myUNSW to update your contact details. Please also remember to inform your bank, health insurance provider and any other third parties who may need to know.

What can I do if I experience difficulties with my landlord or flatmates?

Please visit the following link to NSW Department of Fair Trading: We would also recommend that you make an appointment with an International Student Advisor (ISA). You can make an appointment via the SDI Online Booking System.


How will I receive my stipend payments?

Your stipend is paid fortnightly by the University into your nominated Australian bank account in arrears. The first payment should be paid on the first payday after your arrival. Following the first payment, stipend will be paid in accordance with UNSW fortnightly pay periods.

Is my stipend a taxable income?

No. Stipend is currently income tax exempt. Please refer to the Australian Tax Office website: for information on Australian tax laws.

Can I change my bank account?

Yes. If you change your bank account, please update your details immediately on myUNSW so that stipend payments are made to the correct bank account. Please do not close your old bank account immediately to allow for any possible outstanding payments to be made.

Can my stipend be paid in advance?

No. Stipend is paid in arrears. Advance payment is not possible.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Please be aware! The Australian Government sets a recommended fee for medical services but some doctors charge above this amount. Your Medibank OSHC policy covers 100% of the Government recommended fee for a visit to your doctor (outside hospital). If your doctor charges above the Government recommended fee, you must pay the difference.

Will you arrange my Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and when do I receive my OSHC card?

Your Sponsored Students Liaison Officer (SSLO) will arrange for your OSHC policy to start on the day you arrive in Australia. Your card and policy details will be sent to the Student Development International (SDI) office within approximately one (1) week. We will contact you for collection.  If you require any medical assistance in Australia before you meet your SSLO, please call Medibank on 132 331. You will need to provide them with the exact name and birth date you have provided the university in order to use your policy.

Can I see the doctor without my OSHC card?

Yes. You may still visit the doctor even if you do not have your OSHC card. Check with your Sponsored Student Liaison Officer (SSLO) to find out your policy number. You might have to pay in advance and then be reimbursed at a later date.

My OSHC card is about to expire. What should I do?

Please notify your Sponsored Students Liaison Officer (SSLO) by email: with your name, student ID and the date your visa will expire. Your SSLO will then extend your policy to cover you for the length of your visa.

Does my OSHC cover me if I go on field work or attend a conference in another country?

No. Your OSHC policy only covers you while you are in Australia. However, UNSW provides all students with a Corporate Travel Insurance which covers you whilst travelling more than 100 kilometres on approved UNSW business. For details please contact your SSLO.


Do I need to attend the Introductory Academic Program (IAP) before the commencement of my study?

Yes. Attendance at the IAP is compulsory for all awardees. Failure to attend the IAP may result in the termination of the scholarship. UNSW is required to keep an attendance record to be provided to DFAT Canberra upon request. If you cannot arrive in time for the start of the IAP prior to the commencement of the semester, we will recommend that you defer to the next semester.

How do I apply for Supplementary Academic Support (SAS)?

UNSW Faculties, Schools and Departments offer a variety of free academic support services as well as Mentoring Programs.  SDI created a Handbook for you to easily identify these support services.

SAS can be granted where the institution, awardee or Program Area identifies that assistance is required in line with the institution's academic requirements. Please refer to our Procedures on SAS for step by step guidance. You then need to submit the appropriate Application to use Supplementary Academic Support and email it to

Can I change my course?

ANY change to your scholarship, including a program transfer, you need to discuss first of all with an International Student Advisor (ISA). Any request for a transfer must be compatible with the original scholarship application, Partner Government requirements (where applicable) and country program priorities. If the name or CRICOS code of the program changes (which in most cases does), the change needs to be approved by DFAT at their discretion. The course transfer cannot result in an extension of time to the scholarship! Equally, a change to the field of study is not permitted (e.g. from a law to an arts degree). You can make an appointment with an ISA via the SDI Online Booking System.

Can I enrol in less or more than 24 units of credit?

ANY enrolment that is more or less than 24 units of credit (uoc) needs to be approved by an International Student Advisor (ISA). You need to make an appointment with an ISA via the SDI Online Booking System.

What should I do if I fail a course?

Once results are released and we see that you have failed a subject, we will get in contact with you to start the process of developing an appropriate strategy for the continuation of your scholarship.

You will be required to create an action plan that is signed off by both your program authority and your International Student Advisor (ISA). All the details will be in the email you receive.

Can I enrol in an online course or study via distance mode?

No. An important element of your Australia Awards Scholarship is for you to participate in the full academic experience, e.g. communicating and interacting with other students, building linkages with academics, participating in class, using English in the classroom, etc. By doing courses online or via distance, you are not getting this experience.

Should you encounter a situation where one of your compulsory courses is full and the only alternative is to enrol into this course via online mode, please make an appointment with an International Student Advisor (ISA) immediately. You can make an appointment via the SDI Online Booking System

Should you encounter a situation where one of your elective courses is full and the only alternative is to enrol into this course via online mode, DFAT recommends that you seek a course that can be done face-to-face.

Does DFAT approve extensions?

Extensions are decided on a case by case basis and need the approval from DFAT. A request for extension will generally not be considered for a study program that is only one academic year in length. Apart from Honours year extensions, only one extension of up to six months will be approved for the duration of the scholarship. If you would like to discuss the option of an extension, you can make an appointment with an International Student Advisor (ISA) via the SDI Online Booking System.

Am I allowed to participate in an exchange program whilst on an Australia Awards Scholarship?

No. The participation in an exchange program whilst on an Australia Awards Scholarship is not permitted.

For research students

PRSS Conference travel funds

The Postgraduate Research Student Support (PRSS) Scheme is a centrally funded initiative to provide eligible postgraduate researchers with the opportunity to apply for funding to assist in presenting their research at international conferences outside of Australia. For details please visit

Research Student Progress Report

After every semester your Sponsored Students Contact Officer (SSCO) will send you, with copy to your supervisor, a Request for Research Student Progress Report. Under the terms of your scholarship we are required to enter details of your academic progress into DFAT’s database. It is your responsibility to meet with your supervisor to complete this form and to return it to the SSCO by the due date!


Travel Concession for Australia Awards Scholarship Recipients

Australia Awards Scholarship recipients are eligible to receive travel concession at the commencement of their first semester at UNSW. This travel concession will not be granted while attending any preparatory programs, e.g. Pre-Course English (PCE) or Introductory Academic Program (IAP).  Under a long-standing policy, fully funded Australian Government scholarship recipients are entitled to a transport concession if they meet relevant criteria. This includes the requirement to be enrolled full-time which means in 24 units of credit (UOC).  Any enrolment in less than 24 UOC will revoke this entitlement.

Eligibility criteria for transport concessions in New South Wales are determined by the New South Wales Minister for Transport on behalf of the Government of New South Wales. The full version of the Guidelines are available at

How do I make my flight bookings (reunion/fieldwork/completion)?

For any travel arrangements you first need to sign up to the UNSW Travel Management system, SERKO.

Then you need to contact your Sponsored Students Liaison Officer (SSLO) by sending an email to indicating the purpose of your travel, your travel date(s) and the destination city. The SSLO will respond to your email with further details. Payment for all travel arrangements will be made through the SDI office, therefore, please do not pay for any travel yourself.

Am I eligible for reunion airfares?

You are entitled to reunion airfare(s) only if you are single or unaccompanied in Australia, having left all family members in your home country and your scholarship is of at least two (2) academic years. Eligibility should have been confirmed in your Letter of Offer and agreed by you when you signed your scholarship contract prior to your departure - please check your contract.

The reunion travel entitlement is determined as follows:


Reunion airfare entitlement at

 End of year 1End of year 2End of year 3End of year 4
1 yearNo   
1.5 yearsNo   
2 yearsYesNo  
2.5 yearsYesNo  
3 yearsYesYesNo 
3.5 yearsYesYesNo 
4 yearsYesYesYesNo

Does DFAT pay for fieldwork travel and related costs?

If you are enrolled in a Masters by Research (or a compulsory research component in a Masters by Coursework) or a PhD program, you may be permitted to undertake fieldwork in your home country or within Australia. Requests to undertake fieldwork in a country other than Australia or your home country will not be approved - only in exceptional circumstances where it has been approved by the DFAT Program Area (or Partner Government if applicable) and is part of your written research study plan.

Only one period of fieldwork will be funded during the course of a scholarship and fieldwork must not be taken after your studies have finished!
DFAT provides funds for fieldwork travel only. Additional costs for living expenses, surveys, excess baggage are not covered.

Before your Sponsored Students Liaison Officer (SSLO) can arrange your travel, you must provide us with the following information:

  • An outline of the fieldwork you will be undertaking and the relationship to your program of study
  • Statement that the fieldwork is essential to the successful completion of your program, preferably in a supporting letter from your supervisor
  • A detailed travel itinerary (proposed travel dates, accommodation, contact details during fieldwork)
  • A description of supervisory arrangements whilst undertaking your fieldwork.
  • Proof of Ethics Clearance (to be provided before departure)

Please submit the Fieldwork Travel Form (PDF) to SDI at once approved and signed by your supervisor.

Can I choose which airline I travel on?

You are to travel by the most direct route and are entitled to the 'best fare of the day' which is the cheapest economy class fare available during the period of travel. Any special discount fares need to be utilised. Therefore, it is not always possible to consider your preferred airline.


Please be aware! Dependant spouses who choose to join their partner studying in Australia can usually obtain permission to work, but may find it difficult to secure equivalent employment in their profession. Quite often qualifications obtained in your home country might not be recognized in Australia so it is important to be realistic and flexible in terms of the nature of the work, the hours and the pay you may receive in Australia. Taking this approach to job seeking will help you plan your household income in Australia and avoid disappointment. A student may need to budget an additional minimum of A$8,000 a year for a spouse and up to A$3,720 a year for each child.

If you want to check whether your overseas qualification(s) is recognised in Australia, please visit this website for more information -

Can my family join me straight away in Australia?

DFAT does not stipulate when it is best to have your family join you in Australia. However, please note that Student Development International (SDI) does not support the arrival of family members during the period of the Introductory Academic Program (IAP).

We strongly recommend families to allow at least three (3) months from the Australia Awards Scholarship recipient's arrival in Australia prior to their own arrival in Australia as this will allow time for you to adjust to the new environment and sufficient time to finalise practical arrangements, such as accommodation, childcare, schooling etc. Please note that DFAT does not provide any financial or other support for your dependents!

When you decide to have your family joining you in Australia, you forfeit your reunion travel entitlement. Before we provide you with a support letter for your dependents' visa application, we need to make an appointment with you, discuss any questions you may have and you need to sign a declaration at the end of your meeting which we will keep on your student file. You can make an appointment via the SDI Online Booking System.

Please prepare the Acknowledgement of Family Entry Responsibilities form and budget calculations prior to your appointment.

How do I upgrade my single OSHC to family cover?

You can upgrade your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) from single to family - at your own expense - as follows:

Here you can update your personal details as well as add family members to your cover. Please request that a new card be issued and sent to our office as we need to take a copy of your new OSHC card for your student file.


Can I suspend my Australia Awards Scholarship?

A scholarship may be suspended for a maximum total of twelve (12) months if deemed necessary for health or family reasons and will need to be approved by the DFAT Program Area (or Partner Government if applicable). You are to return to your home country (with your family if you are accompanied) at your own cost and no contribution to living expenses (stipend) will be paid for the period of your suspension. 

You must contact your Sponsored Students Liaison Officer (SSLO) at least two months prior to the date of your return to Australia to discuss your scholarship recommencement date. You must, at your own expense, ensure that your visa and passport are valid prior to your return to Australia.

Does my student visa allow me to work while I study?

Yes. As an international student you are allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester and unlimited hours during semester breaks. However, DFAT advises that any employment undertaken during term times may compromise your academic progress. The successful completion of your scholarship is to be your main focus.

What entitlements does my scholarship offer?

Australia Awards students have a number of entitlements available to them. You can read about them in this page explaining your funding entitlements.

Australia Awards Leadership Program students have slightly different entitlements. Please enquire with the Australia Awards team via email