The culture of Swinburne is built upon that kind of generosity and the commitment of our staff and the broader community to creating life-changing experiences for our students.

One of the ways our staff can contribute to our community is through Payroll Giving. Staff can choose to contribute pre-tax dollars to a scholarship fund to help students who would otherwise be unable to attend university. It is an empowering way to give back to the community and to those who need it the most.

The program began several years ago, with staff contributing significant funds directly from their salaries into the growing fund for student scholarships and support.

Katherine Goldman, Associate Director of Philanthropy at Swinburne, reflects on the journey to creating this fund to support students through Vocational Education and Higher Education.

‘We wanted to ensure it was possible to grant one scholarship every year. To achieve this, we needed to reach the sufficient and continued funding required to support three students at a time – one student each in their first, second and third year of education.’

Thanks to the generosity of our staff and Swinburne community, the fund reached the point where thiswas achievable, and in 2023 the first recipient was awarded the inaugural Swinburne Staff and Community Scholarship.

The recipient, Sarah*, is studying for a double degree, Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning) and a Bachelor of Law. Thanks to the scholarship and the dedication of the Swinburne staff and community, she is receiving $7,500 per year for three years.

She will be the first of many students empowered in their educational trajectory with the support of their own community.

‘The thing I love the most about Swinburne is that if you feel you want to reach the stars, they’ll assist you to do that,’ says the inaugural recipient.

Open to students who have experienced educational disadvantage and are commencing a Vocational Education course or Undergraduate degree at Swinburne University, the Swinburne Staff and Community Scholarship follows the student for the duration of their degree, ensuring they have complete support and freedom to fulfil their educational dreams.

"For some students, scholarships are genuinely the difference between success and failure," says the 2023 recipient on the difference this support can make to a student’s experience at university.

‘The help we receive to accomplish our goals from the school and the respective donors is something some of us have never seen before. Growing up in rural Victoria, I never thought I would be receiving support to accomplish my small-town dreams. I thought they would remain dreams forever. For some of us, the scholarship could be the only reason we could do it at all.’

Sarah’s scholarship has inspired her to help those who will follow in her footsteps. ‘My experience at Swinburne continues to amaze and surprise me every day, but in future, I am excited to mentor and support younger students as I progress through my degree.’

‘I have been supported repeatedly, and I can’t wait to accomplish all my dreams to give back to the organisation that has given to me so many times.’

Katherine feels the Swinburne staff and community donor-funded scholarships play a vital role in shaping the educational landscape and fostering inclusivity.

‘The inaugural scholarship serves as a beacon of hope by offering financial support that can alleviate the burden of tuition fees and living expenses,’ she says. ‘More importantly, it signifies our shared investment in the future generation, reaffirming the belief that talent and potential should never be hindered by financial constraints.’

‘University staff and community donor scholarships contribute to diversity and equity. They open doors for individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds. This inclusivity enriches the educational experience, fostering a vibrant and dynamic campus environment where different perspectives thrive..'

  • “Knowing there is someone out there who has not known me but has faith in me was incredible. The willingness to invest in me has helped me not just financially, but also hugely impacted my outlook on life and myself.”

    2023 scholarship recipient

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