Swinburne’s open and ready to help

Who would’ve thought that 2020 would be defined by Insta Stories full of video chat screenshots, people fighting in supermarkets, and the maddening uncertainty of a lockdown with no definite end?

What’s certain is this – classes at Swinburne are still running. Learning must go on. And education, now more than ever, could be the way to finding your feet again, sampling a new path or embracing the unknown.

The only change around here is that we’re teaching remotely for the next little bit. Yes, yes, we know. Is this for me? Will I like it?

And also Can I actually afford to start studying now? As well as I’m in Year 12, and my year is wrecked. Help? Keep reading.

What’s studying remotely like?

For the most part, we break lectures up into multiple bite-size videos. The better for chocolate bikkie breaks in-between.

The majority of lectures are self-serve. This is the new world!  You’re free to study at 9am, 9pm or whenever everyone else in the house shuts up and gives you quiet time.

You can access 24/7 academic support and assignment feedback (from real study coaches, not just a bot). Just like 7-Eleven, but stocked with smart people instead of Slurpees.

Doing a vocational course? Reach out to a Student Success Coach. Your aim is their aim. Get advice on juggling life and study, dealing with pressure and keeping your eye on the prize.

When class throws you a curveball, our Leaning and Academic Skills advisers are ready to jump on email, Zoom, Skype or the phone to help you out. Their Study Smarter workshops are now online too. Get ready to become a lean, mean study machine.

You’ll become best friends with Canvas – it’s our online learning platform and nearly everything (lectures, group discussions, readings, the lot) will be on it. Think the uni version of MS Teams or Slack.

We’ve tried our darndest to make sure learning material is snail internet connection-friendly, in case the rest of the world decides to Netflix-binge the exact moment you want to study.

What about practical classes? Great question. Luckily, this is the 21st century (fist pump), and we have access to online simulations and virtual experience programmes. For studio classes, you’ll work on physical sketches and projects in your own home, then submit photos for assessment. 


I’m in Year 12, can I still start uni in 2021?

The new 2021 Early Entry Program
Swinburne’s got your back (we always have). Our goal is to provide certainty this year and next. Which is why we’re introducing the 2021 Early Entry Program. 

It’s a new way to enter uni, and it won’t depend on your ATAR, because the state of the world in your twelfth year of school shouldn’t derail the plans you’ve been carefully making.

So, based on a recommendation from your school, you’ll be able to put yourself forward for an early conditional offer, and receive one by August!

You’ll still need to sit for VCE and achieve specific subject study scores to receive a full offer, but you won’t have to worry about the ATAR you get. Find out more about the 2021 Early Entry Program here.

Standard entry via your ATAR
Confident about VCE and want your ATAR to be the main selection criteria we consider? As in previous years, you have the reassurance of Guaranteed Entry ATARs – meet it for your chosen course, and you’ll be guaranteed entry. You’ll also have to tick off your other course prerequisites, of course.

We also have tried and tested pathways, like the 8-month UniLink diploma. It’s an alternative to your first year of uni, where heaps of support comes standard. It can transition you smoothly into your chosen bachelor degree, with advanced standing of up to one year of full-time study.

If you’re facing financial hardship, have a medical condition, are the first in your family heading to uni, live outside metro Melbourne (the list goes on), find out more about VTAC’s Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS).

Still have questions? Book a chat with us.

I’m thinking about coming back to study, can I afford it?

Working from home means some of you have wrestled back extra hours in your day. Now could be the time to put in motion those study plans that never seemed to fit into your schedule.

Or you might be in an industry that’s been hit and are finding it hard to see a silver lining in any of this. Could this unwelcome pause be what you need to revisit your dreams or, on the flipside, knuckle down and be practical? We’ve put together a guide on how we (and the government) can help you make it work.

Youth Allowance, Austudy and ABSTUDY
If you’re a full-time student and an Australian citizen, permanent resident or hold certain visas, you could access any of these payments ASAP. And as of right now, these come with an additional $550 fortnightly ‘coronavirus supplement’. That’s right, you will be getting paid to study. Centrelink also offers other help for things like rent and living costs. We’ll keep updating this section if and when the government announces more assistance. 

Welcome to the world of acronyms. You’re probably already familiar with these, but here’s a quick refresher. HECS-HELP loans help pay for your student contribution (the government subsidises the rest) for Commonwealth supported places in higher education courses. FEE-HELP loans assist in paying for all other places in higher education courses. VET loans are for approved vocational education and training qualifications.

This Victorian government initiative will pay for your tuition fees in courses leading to jobs that will be most needed by the state when all this is over. Many of these courses take several months or up to a year to complete (hint – they’re a quick way to pivot your career). While some courses are currently full, we have several intakes this year, and it’s a good idea to get in touch to secure your place early. See what Swinburne offers.

Financial support from Swinburne
We can help with everything from applying for loans and grants, Centrelink matters, emergency financial assistance, payment plans, your tax return and budgeting. If your laptop gives you the black screen treatment or your fridge goes boom, then you can apply for no-interest loans for essential items through Swinburne and our partners). And the Swinburne Foodbank offers support for those struggling to afford groceries.

Swinburne Student Emergency Fund
This is a one-off grant of $1000 for current students who have been impacted by things like bushfires, droughts or health pandemics (hello there).

Scholarships and grants
Scholarships come in two types – some recognise achievements and academic merit, and others promote equity and opportunity. You can read more about those here. Our grants can help you cover basic living costs in a pinch.

Lower commitment postgrad options
We get it – a full master degree can be too daunting when you don’t know what’s over the horizon. Dip a toe with a single unit or take up a graduate certificate (four units). We’re super flexible. You can ramp things up into the master later on, or cut back on units if life resumes its normal hectic pace.

How is the government helping me study, retrain, or upskill right now?

Free TAFE courses – Working for Victoria initiative

Working for Victoria is a $500 million initiative created to help Victorians who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Part of it includes free online intensive training to help you attain the skills and qualifications which Victorian employers are likely to be looking out for as our economy recovers.

Swinburne is offering these two online courses starting 4 May. Find out more about these courses as well as other free TAFE courses.

Apply for these courses now

Certificate IV in Building & Construction (Building) – Online Delivery
This course can be completed wholly online by 1 December 2020.

Diploma of Building & Construction (Building) – Online Delivery

Free Infection Control Skill Set courses

Infection Control Skillset courses are for customer-facing employees across the retail, food handling, and transport and logistics sectors. These skill sets uniquely prepare you to identify and respond to risks related to infection control, through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. These month-long online courses are free to eligible students. 

JobTrainer initiative

If you’re between 17-24 years or a job seeker of any age, you may also be eligible to apply for a course under JobTrainer – a joint initiative between the Commonwealth and State Governments to help Victorians impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) access low or fee-free vocational education and training.

I’m an international student. How does this affect me?

If you live in Melbourne and the practical elements of your course are being delivered on campus, we can’t wait to welcome you. But please remember that online learning and assessment will be our primary delivery mode for the rest of this year.

If you live outside Australia, current travel restrictions mean you’ll be studying online in your home country for now. It’s reassuring to know that you can do almost everything online that you can on campus including bringing your English language skills up to university standard, accessing a world-class education and enjoying amazing support from our dedicated academics, course experts and other services. With flexible study options, you can start with just one or two units.

We’ve increased our International Scholarships with up to 75% off course fees, established the Swinburne X LinkedIn Program with 30% off online study for eligible applicants and introduced ELICOS+ Exclusive, valued at up to A$4,400. 

Start your Swinburne journey by chatting to a member of our International team. We speak several different languages and can advise you on your study options, entry requirements and how to apply. We’ll support you in every way – both online and on-campus.

Chat to our International team today.


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We tried to put everything we thought you’d want to know on this page, but everyone’s situation is different. Our specialists can help find the course that’s right for you, assist in creating a comprehensive application and making the whole process hiccup-free.

To prepare, we recommend you download the 'Zoom Cloud Meetings' app on your computer or mobile device.

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