Waving the money carrot to get the best
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.