How much do you really know about how CEF supported students use their grants scholarship funding?
This article will give you an insight into how grants and scholarships are awarded, how funds are accessed and what students can and do, use this much needed funding for.
Before we get into the details, here is a reminder of the 4 CEF KEY ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA all students need to meet in order to be considered for grants or scholarships:
- Demonstrated need
- Aged 16-25 years
- Commitment to achieving goals
- Gone to school or currently reside in a region covered by CEF
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF CEF GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS?
In the same way that every student and every community is different, so is the amount of grants and scholarships awarded.
The value of our scholarships and grants vary greatly. This is because each local foundation has a different way of determining ‘need’.
When deciding which students to support, we don’t only consider financial need, but also the social needs of the student.
There are a number of factors taken into account when assessing a students need for assistance, and all our foundations place varying levels of importance on these factors.
Considerations can include:
- Does the student have limited family and/or social support?
- How will education expenses impact the student’s family?
- Are they able to receive support from Centrelink?
- Have they been successful in applying for other scholarships?
- Does the student have any medical conditions or health challenges?
- Will they need to travel frequently or long distances?
- Does the student have any significant savings?
- Will they need to work (and how much) to keep their head above water?
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS?
Yes, there is a difference between grants and scholarships.
Grants are funded and managed by the local foundations, whereas scholarships are funded by nationally sourced partners and administered by national office.
There are some exceptions to these definitions which are based on the requirements of funders at both the national and local level but, overall the terms are applied as outlined below.
- Community-raised funds
- Awarded and administered at a local level
- Given annually, and to be used during that academic year
- Students are encouraged to reapply annually for support if needed, as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria
- Funding secured through national partnerships
- Awarded and administered at a national level
- Can be annual OR multi year offerings
- Can have additional eligibility criteria
- Students who receive multi-year scholarships do not need to reapply
HOW ARE GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED?
The process is a little different for each local foundation depending on the number of applications received, the amount of money to be distributed and the size of the foundation.
Generally, the volunteers will review the applications received and create a short list of applicants. They will then nominate a selection panel to interview the shortlisted applicants, discuss each student and come to an agreement on which students will be supported and how much they will receive.
National scholarships are awarded in a similar manner, depending on the agreement with the funding partner. Selected CEF staff liaise with local foundations to assess the eligibility and need of applicants, and then interview based on this information. In some cases, the partner will have a representative involved in the interview process.
Successful scholars are sent a letter of offer, and then required to sign a letter of agreement and provide proof of enrolment in the relevant study.
HOW CAN STUDENTS USE THE FUNDS?
One of the primary focuses of CEF is to support regional students during the transition to after school study, which can be extremely expensive. During this period students are often required to travel significant distances, pay up front costs for accommodation and also set up their new home, whether it be a rental property or on-campus accommodation.
For these reasons, as soon as students are informed they are receiving support, they can start to claim.
All CEF grants and scholarships are non-cash.
This ensures the financial support provided is being used for approved education related expenses.
Students must either:
- Pay for their education related expense and then provide the receipt to their local foundation (or national CEF) for reimbursement to their nominated back account, or
- Provide an invoice, and this can then be paid directly to the supplier on the students’ behalf.
WHAT ARE EDUCATION RELATED EXPENSES?
Determining what is considered an educational expense may be decided on a student by student basis. It is important to understand the circumstance of the student, their living and study arrangements.
The following are general guidelines provided to students and local foundations to assist with this process:
- Campus accommodation
- Upfront TAFE/VET course fees
- Textbooks and reading materials
- Groceries and other essential items
- Tools, PPE and uniforms required for study
- Car registration and fuel
- Travel costs
- Appliances and furniture
- HECS/VET/FEE HELP supported fees
- Gym fees and memberships
- Medical expenses
- General grooming and personal care
- Travel or accommodation unrelated to study
- Costs attributed to partners or friends
- Make up and skin care
- Off campus accommodation
- Internet and mobile phone costs
- Networking and study related events
- Claims made out of semester
All student funds are paid at the discretion of the local foundation or national office. However, we know that every student and circumstance is different and are managed on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.
WHAT DO STUDENTS ACTUALLY USE THEIR MONEY FOR?
As you can see, funding can be used for a broad range of expenses, but we find that students primarily claim for accommodation, travel, technology and textbooks.