A program offering $200,000 scholarships to the families of those who have been awarded university scholarships and their children has raised $150 million in the past six months, a senior figure has revealed.
The new school grant program has been set up by the Government’s Australian Council of Education and the National Council of the Arts to provide funding to students, their families and community groups that have been recognised as deserving of financial assistance from the Australian Government.
The aim is to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people, including those who may be living in poverty, the council’s executive director, Andrew Mabey, said.
“The purpose of this is to give back to the community the funds they have put in and help the families in need, but also to support the student, and in doing so, also support our students and those who will come after them,” Mr Mabay said.
The grant scheme is currently operating at the University of Sydney, where it has provided grants to students since 2012.
In the past 12 months, it has also provided $25 million in grants to families who are members of a local community organisation and the Australian Council for the Arts, the executive director of the council, Mark Rudge, said in a statement.
“These funds have enabled families to secure a better start to their lives and contribute to the local community,” Mr Rudge said.
Mr Rundle said he hoped the scheme would be extended to other Australian universities in the future.
He said it was hoped that the scheme could help students and families achieve better outcomes, with the goal of reducing the number of students going on to study for a PhD, but that it also had the potential to improve students’ prospects.
Mr Maby said he was confident the scheme had the capacity to increase the number and number of people receiving grants.
“[I am] very hopeful that the Government will consider the support we are providing to young people to get them to graduate school, to get a job, to be able to pay their student loans,” he said.
[The] scheme is part of the Government funding initiative that provides $20 million annually to Australian schools to help them reach their goals.
Earlier this month, the Government announced it was offering up to $40 million to help the students who have already graduated from universities to move to university.
Under the scheme, students who had been awarded a scholarship but did not receive the university grant would receive a lump sum of up to about $200 per year.
There were concerns that the funding scheme would give students an unfair advantage in the admissions process and could lead to disadvantaged students being given less support than those with greater financial resources.
However, Mr Rude said he believed the funding would improve outcomes.
Students who had already graduated and were applying for grants would be given the option to apply for another scholarship.
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