Wav­ing the money car­rot to get the best

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Scholarships - Mi­landa Rout

UNIVER­SI­TIES are spend­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars on their schol­ar­ship pro­grams in a bid to at­tract the bright­est stu­dents from across the coun­try as com­pe­ti­tion heats up be­tween in­sti­tu­tions.

Sport­ing prow­ess, aca­demic suc­cess and per­sonal tri­umph over hard­ship are just some of the cat­e­gories un­der which thou­sands of schol­ar­ships are on of­fer to stu­dents.

Melbourne Univer­sity is lead­ing the on­slaught in the schol­ar­ship stakes, spend­ing $ 100 mil­lion to at­tract the best stu­dents and of­fer­ing cash grants of up to $ 2500 to get Vic­to­rian Year 12 grad­u­ates in the door for its new USstyle cour­ses.

The univer­sity is also ask­ing schools through­out Vic­to­ria to nom­i­nate their top five stu­dents who, if they re­ceive an EN­TER score of 95 or more, will have the HECS fees for their un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree paid un­der the ex­panded schol­ar­ship pro­gram.

The Univer­sity of NSW is also work­ing with schools to re­cruit the best pupils: it has asked 800 prin­ci­pals to nom­i­nate the best stu­dents for a one- off schol­ar­ship pay­ment of $ 4000.

The Univer­sity of Syd­ney has ear­marked more than $ 55 mil­lion for schol­ar­ships and claims it is the ‘‘ most com­pre­hen­sive and gen­er­ous scheme by any univer­sity in NSW’’. High achiev­ing stu­dents are awarded up to $ 10,000 a year for five years while the univer­sity also has a school leavers schol­ar­ships pro­gram that looks not just at marks, but also at the at­tributes of suc­cess. Stu­dents are awarded $ 5000 a year for up to five years.

The Aus­tralian Na­tional Univer­sity spends $ 4 mil­lion on un­der­grad­u­ate schol­ar­ships, in­clud­ing $ 500,000 on ac­com­mo­da­tion bur­saries. Its flag­ship pro­gram of­fers the bright­est stu­dents $ 10,000 a year and a re­turn flight home each se­mes­ter.

The Univer­sity of Queens­land also spends mil­lions on its schol­ar­ship schemes, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing grants for term- break re­search project work and over­seas study.

Monash Univer­sity tar­gets Vic­to­ria’s best stu­dents through its schol­ar­ships for ex­cel­lence, which pay stu­dents $ 6000 and their HECS fees. There are also schol­ar­ships for stu­dents who have over­come per­sonal hard­ship in Monash’s $ 70 mil­lion un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate schol­ar­ship pro­gram.

Vic­to­ria’s RMIT Univer­sity also re­cently an­nounced it will spend more than $ 60 mil­lion on stu­dent schol­ar­ships over the next five years, in­clud­ing new pro­grams tar­geted at en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents.

There are 2200 schol­ar­ships worth $ 20.1 mil­lion on of­fer at the Univer­sity of West­ern Aus­tralia. They range from schol­ar­ships that are worth a few hun­dred dol­lars right up to the Richard Wal­ter Gibbon Med­i­cal Re­search Schol­ar­ship for post­grad­u­ates, worth $ 28,600 a year.

Schol­ar­ships ex­pert Julie Sum­mers says the num­ber of schol­ar­ships avail­able had risen, but com­pe­ti­tion among stu­dents and be­tween univer­si­ties was in­tense.

‘‘ The num­ber of schol­ar­ships does in­crease from year to year,’’ she says.

‘‘ And univer­si­ties do try to nab the best stu­dents.’’ Sum­mers, the di­rec­tor of Gran­tSearch, says there has also been an in­crease in the num­ber of eq­uity schol­ar­ships avail­able.

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