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Disability Scholarship Program

The Disability Leadership Scholarship Program is an initiative from the department's Disability Action Plan. The program aims to achieve a long-term increase in the number of qualified people with a disability employed across all areas and all levels of the public service.

The 2016 program will be offering a limited number of scholarships for people with a disability in Victoria in the following areas of study:

  • law
  • criminology
  • para-legal
  • psychology
  • social work
  • other justice-related fields.

A scholarship for study at diploma, advanced diploma, bachelor, and postgraduate level will be offered at a tertiary institution within Victoria.

Prospective students interested in undertaking justice-related courses will need to check with the respective institutions to ascertain the requirements of lodging an application and the closing date for courses. A point of reference for all courses is the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre Guide (VTAC Guide 2016) (External link)

The scholarship will be awarded on a merit principle, taking into account an applicant’s eligibility, past academic results, ability to complete a course of study, and competitiveness against other scholarship applicants.

The scholarship program will provide eligible students with a fortnightly study allowance to study full-time or part-time to complete up to a maximum of 2 years of an undergraduate or postgraduate course.


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How do I apply?

Download a copy of the Disability Scholarship application form above and submit via post, email or in person. 

If you would like a copy to be sent to you, call the department's Disability Scholarship Contact Officer on 03 8684 1706 or email peter.heazlewood@justice.vic.gov.au

Postal address

Mr Peter Heazlewood
Disability Scholarship Contact Officer
Diversity Issues Unit
Department of Justice and Regulation
GPO Box 4349
Melbourne VIC 3001
DX 210641

Street address

Mr Peter Heazlewood
Diversity Issues Unit
Department of Justice and Regulation
Level 18/121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Applications for the program close on 15 April 2016 at 5pm.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a scholarship, an applicant must meet all of the following requirements or has successfully gained entry into a postgraduate course for which the scholarship application is being made. Decisions concerning eligibility in the scholarship program will be made through the selection process based on individual circumstances.

An applicant must:

  • have resided in Victoria on a full-time basis for a minimum of 2 years immediately preceding lodgement of application form and provide additional document if requested 
  • not earn in excess of $20,000, gross per annum from employment undertaken within the duration of the scholarship (the maximum increases by $5,000 per annum additional for each dependent)
  • declare and provide details of existing scholarship not provided by Victorian Government
  • be a Victorian resident with a disability
  • be undertaking their studies at an approved Victorian education institution
  • have successfully completed the first year of an undergraduate degree course in the discipline for which the application is being made.

For undergraduate applicants to be eligible for a scholarship, they will need to have successfully completed all units of a full-time or part-time workload within 1 year of a 3-year course or 2 years of a 4-year course, as determined by the educational institute at which they are studying.

An undergraduate applicant must be:

  • enrolled to undertake a full-time or part-time work load for the remaining 2 years, as determined by the educational institution where they are studying 

or

  • undertaking study, through course work, to satisfy the formal component as an articled clerkship at an approved institution.

Applicants applying for a scholarship while studying an undergraduate or postgraduate course will need to demonstrate a minimum pass grade in all subjects of a full-time or part-time course workload in the semester immediately preceding the intake semester when the application is lodged.

Distance or online education

Students who are resident in Victoria and engaged in accredited distance or online courses incurring costs are eligible to apply for a scholarship. 

Applicants are required to provide details of their course of study and must meet other eligibility criteria. 

A person not residing in Victoria and completing distance or online education with a Victorian university will not be eligible. 

The selection panel will make a comparative assessment of applications taking into account overall course relevance, previous academic performance, the capacity of applicants to successfully complete studies and the stated aspirations of applicants concerning justice outcomes.

Ineligible for scholarships

Scholarships will not be available to applicants who are:

  • currently completing a sentence through non-custodial means (for example on parole)
  • on bail or on remand in custody
  • in lawful custody for committing an offence (in a youth training centre as defined under the Children and Young Persons Act 1989 or imprisoned in an adult correctional facility within Australia)
  • recipients of a scholarship offering financial assistance for study purposes by the Victorian Government, which exceeded $10,000 over the past 5 years.

Study load requirements

Diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate study

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants undertaking study at the diploma, advanced diploma, undergraduate or postgraduate level, must be undertaking a full-time or part-time workload as determined by the institute at which they are studying.

The applicant is required to provide the department with written confirmation of the full-time or part-time workload status of their course of study from the educational institute at which they will be studying.

Past academic results

An essential element in assessing an applicant’s ability to complete their course of study within the duration of the scholarship is their past academic results.

Applicants will be assessed on previous study undertaken for example secondary or other academic level.

For undergraduate applicants to be eligible for a scholarship, they will need to have successfully completed a full-time or part-time workload of all units of study within 1 year in the previous 3 years in the discipline for which a scholarship application is being made.

For postgraduate applicants to be eligible for a scholarship, they will need to have successfully gained entry into a postgraduate course.

Scholarships on offer for 2016

The program will provide study allowances or scholarships totalling $30,000 distributed as follows:

  • $20,000 to the candidate who tops the list of applicants interviewed
  • $5,000 each to the 2 ‘runners-up’ at the interview.

Any Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) or Higher Education Loan Payment (HELP) fees associated with an applicant’s study will be required to be met by the applicant. HECS fees will not be included in these costs and will have to be met by the student.

Costs will be considered to meet expenses associated with short-term undergraduate studies:

  • For example in the field of law, students undertake part-time coursework of an articled clerkship at an approved institution that will enable an applicant to practice in the legal profession. 
  • Other justice-related fields of study will also be considered under this category.

This consideration will be in lieu of any application for study allowances. In such instances, the selection panel will consider each individual application on its merit.

A scholarship will not be approved until the applicant is formally accepted into the course of study, as detailed in their scholarship application. 

Evidence required will be written advice from the educational institution.

Payment of the scholarship study allowance will be paid fortnightly and will commence on the nearest Victorian Public Service pay date after 2 weeks from the official commencement of the recipient’s course of study, or the nearest practical date after the signing of the scholarship contract by both parties.

The department reserves the right to vary the number and value of scholarship awards.

Accreditation of courses

It is important to note that the course for which an applicant is seeking a scholarship must be nationally accredited.

University courses will be those which are accredited through the university and complying with the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Diploma and advanced diploma courses will be those that are accredited through the Victorian Qualification Authority and complying with the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Additional scholarship assistance

A scholarship holder is required to complete the proposed course of study within the duration of the scholarship. 

Failure in any subject in any semester could result in the scholarship being cancelled. 

Additional assistance to complete an extended course of study is unlikely to be approved.             

Overseas and interstate study

Scholarship applications for overseas and interstate study will not be considered. However, applications may be considered from students undertaking short-term study interstate, such as the formal component of an articled clerkship at the College of Law in Sydney.

In such instances, the applicant will need to demonstrate, in their application, why the study cannot be undertaken in Victoria.

Scholarship requirements

Scholarship holders will be required to perform to a satisfactory standard throughout the duration of the scholarship for both the academic and work placement.

Students must provide proof of the following to the department's Disability Scholarship Contact Officer:

  • enrolment at the commencement of each academic year
  • continued enrolment at the educational institution and in the course of study throughout each semester (endorsed by the educational institution)
  • copies of results at the end of each semester
  • tax file number
  • information on their progress or any plans to vary their study
  • in writing (within 14 days) of any change to their workload or contact details for example address and telephone number.

Assessment of applications

The selection panel will consider if an application meets all eligibility criteria, together with past history and achievements and any previous assistance received for study purposes, excluding Austudy or ABSTUDY.

It will be the responsibility of the applicant to advise the department's Disability Scholarship Contact Officer, as soon as it is known, if they receive an offer of other financial assistance through a study scholarship after lodgement of their application.

Academic reference

Each applicant is required to provide, as part of their application, an academic reference from a nominated referee who can provide an appraisal of their academic performance and ability.

Austudy and ABSTUDY

It is the responsibility of each scholarship holder in receipt of Austudy or ABSTUDY to advise Centrelink that they have been successful in securing a scholarship.

Any on-going Austudy or ABSTUDY liabilities or benefits available to the scholarship holder is for Centrelink to assess.

Selection

The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of merit, taking into account overall course relevance, previous academic performance, the capacity of applicants to successfully complete studies and the stated aspirations of applicants concerning justice outcomes. The selection panel will comprise at least 3 members.

The selection of successful application will depend on:

  • the competitiveness of the applicant against other applicants
  • satisfying the eligibility criteria
  • the competitiveness of applicants taking into account their actual course of study and how it relates to the justice system.

Additional information

Advertising and promotion of the scholarship

Advertising and promotion of the scholarship program will be through avenues such as:

  • community newspapers
  • disability advocacy newsletters
  • universities and TAFE colleges.

Taxation

The department has sought interpretative advice from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in relation to the income taxation status of the scholarship program. In accordance with the advice from the ATO, the scholarship program meets the requirements of an income tax exempt study allowance.

However, it will be the responsibility of successful applicants to apply for an individual private ruling for an exemption from income tax to their the department People with a Disability Leadership Scholarship Program from the Australian Taxation Office.

Information on how to apply to the ATO for an exemption will be provided to successful applicants by the Disability Scholarship Contact Officer at the commencement of the scholarship.

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