2020 uni students! Applications are open for the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank scholarship

Whether you’re a parent of a school-leaver eagerly (or not) waiting for their HSC results, or you’re a returning gap-year adventurer ready to take a leap into university - if you live rurally you may want to familiarise yourself with the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank scholarship.   

Applications are now officially being taken for the program, which has been designed for students intending to study an undergraduate degree full-time at uni or TAFE for the first time in 2020 and who have left school in 2018 or 2019. 

Alexandra Gartmann, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Executive Partnerships and CEO Rural Bank says that providing first-time uni students with financial assistance supports them as they adjust and focus predominantly on their studies. 

“We all know education is critical in a person’s life and in today’s rapidly changing world it sets our young people up for success,” she said. 

“Students from regional areas across Australia should be given the same opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts, especially those who encounter challenges such as high relocation costs and away from home living expenses.”  

Each scholarship is up to $5,000 in value and are awarded to high achieving rural or regional students that face financial or social disadvantage, affecting their ability to support themselves while attending university. 

RELATED ARTICLE: $15,000 windfall: What the 2019 Federal Budget could do for regional uni students

This year, over $1 million was allocated to the scholarship program for students, which included not only the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank scholarship but also scholarships from other participating Community Banks and the Rural Bank scholarships.  

“This financial contribution is just one way in which we invest in our young people, and it is an extension of the significant contribution we make to Australian communities through our Community Bank network,” Ms Gartmann said. 

“To date, we have given back $229 million nationally, with more than $3.4 million specifically allocated to education and research projects during the 2019/2019 financial year.”

And since ATARs and HSC results are set to be released tomorrow, and university offers will start rolling out next week, now could be the time to start getting ready to apply. 

What’s the criteria for the scholarship?

While the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank scholarship is a great way to help students afford the heavy costs of university, it’s not just for anyone. 

The scholarship is designed specifically for students living in rural or regional Australia, and there is a handful of other criteria that must be met to be considered, such as:

  • Intending to undertake full-time study at uni or TAFE in 2020 
  • Graduating high school in 2018 or 2019 
  • Must be the first course participating in (cannot be used for transferring degrees or universities) 
  • Be able to prove financial or social disadvantage that obstructs them from going to uni or TAFE 
  • Have outstanding academic performance and community involvement 
  • An Australian citizen or a permanent resident 

REMEMBER: If you or your child intends to defer any offer they receive from a uni this year, they aren’t eligible for the scholarship. The funds must be used for study commencing in 2020. 

What can I use the scholarship for? 

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s scholarship is in place to support future tertiary students with the costs that come with leaving home to attend university. 

This scholarship award is valued at $5,000 per student, and is intended to cover a full year of study. However, for some students who perform well academically, there may be an opportunity to extend for another year. 

It can be used for things like accommodation, course costs, study resources such as textbooks or study-related equipment and even tutoring. 

According to Bendigo Bank, Rhiannon Skinner - previous scholarship recipient and now school teacher based in Busselton, the scholarship made a significant difference to her experience at uni, as well as providing financial peace of mind to herself and her family. 

“The scholarship essentially paid for my rent for two years and meant that I didn’t have to take a gap year - so I was able to concentrate on, and finish my studies earlier than expected and set out on my teaching career,” she said. 

“This scholarship is one very close to my heart and I’m forever grateful. It made an immense difference to my studies, so I’d encourage others to give it a shot - don’t miss out on an opportunity that you may be eligible for, and don’t make the mistake of assuming that they are too difficult to apply for.” 

When do I need to apply by? 

Applications are open now until the 28th of January 2020, so now’s the time to get everything ready to go. You are also able to start your application, save it and come back later - so even if you don’t have all that you need right now, you can still get the ball rolling as soon as you like. 

Here’s what you’ll need handy when you apply: 

  • Year 12 results (released Tuesday, 17 December for 2019 students) 
  • University Letter of Offer (being sent out from Monday 23 December) 
  • Referees (Either briefed to be spoken to or in written form) 
  • Quotes or estimates of the cost of you’d face while studying (could include accommodation, textbooks or any other study supply costs) 

HOT TIP: Don’t leave the application till the last minute - give yourself or your child the best opportunity to be successful and gather up as much info as you can to include on the application. 

How else can I save as a student?  

Juggling the cost of university expenses can be tough, with or without a scholarship, so here are some tricks on how to save when studying.

  • Use a student transport card wherever possible 
  • Keep an eye out for student discounts (whether that’s cheap tickets or online shopping!) 
  • Buy your textbooks secondhand, and in your second semester sell your old ones! 
  • Head out to free events, you don’t always need to splash the cash to have fun with mates 
  • Buy food on a budget, keep it cheap and only eat out occasionally 
  • If you want to save on banking fees, look into opening a student bank account or savings account 

RELATED ARTICLE: 7 money saving tricks for uni students

After a little more info on all things student finances? Head over to our student hub for the latest news and handy guides.