Australia Awards Scholarships

The Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government that aim to contribute to the long term development needs of Australia's partner countries, in line with global, bilateral and regional agreements. The Awards strive to develop leadership potential and stimulate lasting change by empowering a global network of talented individuals through high-quality education experiences in Australia and overseas. Recipients return home with new ideas and knowledge, and the ability to make a significant contribution to their home countries as leaders in their field.

SDI manages the Australia Awards Scholarships offered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). As an Australia Award recipient you enjoy various entitlements, as listed below:

Temporary accommodation upon arrival

Upon your request, SDI will arrange initial accommodation for you for the first seven days after your arrival in Australia. Please note that you are responsible for the entire cost of the initial accommodation.

Airport pickup service

Upon your request, SDI will arrange for you to be picked up from the airport and taken either to your accommodation or the SDI office, whichever is more appropriate at the time of your arrival. The Airport Pickup Service runs on week days only; we do not offer this service on Saturdays and Sundays. [If you have arranged for your own accommodation, please refer to the FAQs for important information]

Introductory Academic Program (IAP) prior to the commencement of your studies - COMPULSORY

A compulsory program for commencing Australia Award recipients, the Introductory Academic Program will teach you academic English and communication skills.

The IAP is paid for by DFAT, and new recipients must attend and participate in the IAP before the semester starts. The Program is conducted by SDI. It includes general information sessions and familiarises new students with the demands of the Australian academic environment with an emphasis on academic skills needed to make a smooth transition to study in Australia.

The IAP covers academic English and communication skills including written, oral and learning components and you will also learn about managing your studies at a postgraduate level.

The Program further provides you with library skills as well as computing courses consisting of contact hours in computing labs to give you relevant skills for your learning and/or research needs at UNSW. For Australia Awards Scholarship recipients the IAP includes attendance and participation in the International Student Briefing Day.

Again, please be advised that attendance at all components of the IAP is compulsory for all Australia Awards Recipients.

Establishment allowance

The establishment allowance will be paid to you when you arrive in Sydney. This once-only payment is a contribution toward initial expenses such as rental bonds, text books, study materials etc.

Amount: $5,000 as a once-only payment.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

SDI arranges your OSHC for the duration of your scholarship length. Certain services might not be covered by OSHC but ancillary cover can be purchased at your own expense.

It is important that you always inform the OSHC provider of your current address details.

Contribution to living expenses (CLE)

Rate: $82.20 per day / approx. $30,000 per annum
You are responsible for all your expenses in Australia including the expenses of any family members. Australia Awards Scholarship recipients receive a standard CLE rate. We also refer to the CLE as a stipend.
The CLE is paid every fortnight into your nominated bank account. If you change your bank account, please update those details immediately via myUNSW.

Important: The CLE ceases five days after examination results are officially published for coursework students. For research students this is up to five days after the submission of your thesis.

Tuition fees

Full academic fees and other compulsory fees (e.g. Student Services and Amenities Fee) that apply to international students undertaking the same course are funded under your scholarship.


You are entitled to a single return airfare to and from Australia at the beginning and end of your scholarship. You might also be entitled to airfares during your scholarship depending on the scholarship you are on and the length of your award (e.g. fieldwork, conference attendance, reunion).

All airfares are for the cheapest economy class fare via the most direct route.

Reunion airfares

You are entitled to reunion airfare(s) only if you are unaccompanied in Australia, having left all family members in your home country and your scholarship is of 2 academic years as a minimum.

Scholarship duration

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

Supplementary Academic Support (SAS)

SAS is accrued at a rate of $500 every 6 months.

Institutions may arrange supplementary academic support in the form of:

  • tutoring/academic support;
  • academic training or workshops (such as academic writing skills);
  • thesis editing (only if still on scholarship!!!);

SAS funding must not be used to:

  • purchase IT hardware, specialised software or textbooks (awardees may use the establishment allowance for this purpose)
  • towards any associated costs for fieldwork/field trips or study tour units (either selective or compulsory)


DFAT will provide only the international return airfares; no additional living costs, survey costs or funds for excess baggage for samples or materials etc. will be covered under the scholarship.

The following applies to awardees whose fieldwork entitlement was approved BEFORE   1 February 2015 as per the 2014 AAS Policy Handbook:

Students enrolled in one of the following courses may be permitted to undertake fieldwork (the maximum accumulated period is up to 12 months) in their home country or within Australia:

  • a Masters by Research (one return airfare);
  • a Doctorate program (one return airfare);

The following applies to awardees whose fieldwork entitlement was approved AFTER  1 February 2015 as per the 2015 AAS Policy Handbook:

Students enrolled in one of the following courses may be permitted to undertake fieldwork (the maximum accumulated period is up to 12 months) in their home country or within Australia:

  • a Masters by Research (one return airfare);
  • a Doctorate program (up to three return airfares);
  • a Masters by Coursework (one return airfare) which has a compulsory research by fieldwork component (the fieldwork entitlement must be included in the institution's initial offer)

For unaccompanied awardees only: if fieldwork is conducted in the awardee's home country, the awardee is not eligible for reunion airfares in the year fieldwork is undertaken.


The DFAT website has an up-to-date list of countries currently eligible for these scholarships, with specific eligibility requirements or contact information for each country.

Australia Awards Leadership Program

These awardees are required to participate in a Leadership Development Program and associated costs are covered by DFAT.

Independent Opportunities 

Awardees can apply for up to $2,000 to attend a conference or other professional development activity.

AAS Policy Handbook

This Handbook outlines the awardee's responsibilities and entitlements, gives information on student management and scholarship processes and is a good resource to refer to in the first instance if you have any questions about your scholarship program.

Published in January 2017: Australia Awards Scholarships Policy Handbook