COVID-19 has affected all students, leaving many vulnerable due to loss of employment and housing insecurity. Swinburne’s Student Emergency Fund was originally established to support students affected by the bushfire crisis in early 2020. Due to the ongoing financial challenges of the global outbreak of COVID-19, Swinburne has renewed the fund to help alleviate some of the financial burden of its students facing significant hardship.
Swinburne’s $5 million fund is providing one-off grants of up to $1,000 to both domestic and international students who have experienced significant financial hardship due to COVID-19.
“The circumstances our students are facing, particularly our international students, are very serious,” says Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO.
“It’s our responsibility to support them during this time of need, champion their futures and ensure they can continue to receive a world-class education.”
More than 2,000 applications have been received so far. Many of the applications describe the heart-breaking impacts of the pandemic on students like Julia, who is studying a Bachelor of Media and Communication.
“I lost any financial stability I had when almost all of my hours were cut at my current employment. I am from a very rural area so moving home is not a feasible option for me either. This grant has allowed me to cover a month of rent and groceries for the short-term, which is great,” says Julia.
The power of community in crisis
The university is continuing to build the fund with contributions from its philanthropic supporters, alumni and staff.
“It has been wonderful to see the willingness and desire of the Swinburne community to support our most vulnerable students during this time. It speaks directly to our core values and our mission to help all students, regardless of circumstance, fulfil their goals and dreams,” Professor Kristjanson says.
In addition to providing one-off emergency grants, Swinburne has also introduced practical measures and support to help domestic and international students impacted by COVID-19 measures, including:
- accommodation support for students in vulnerable living conditions
- increased health and wellbeing support including free flu vaccinations, medical and counselling services at our on-campus Wellbeing clinic, and Mental Health Online services
- food programs such as Foodbank at our Hawthorn campus and Swinburne Student Union’s Free Feeds Program at Croydon campus
- further academic considerations such as extended fee and census date deadlines
- support to study remotely including free laptop loans, access to free software including Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office 365 and Apps on Demand for students to access Swinburne’s software and applications on any remote device
- 24/7 advisory support for all students to provide study advice, careers and employability guidance.
“We are taking all measures necessary to support our students during this time. They are our main priority and we must do everything we can to ensure the next wave of experts, professionals and leaders are qualified and ready,” says Professor Kristjanson.
Support our students
Swinburne understands that COVID-19 has presented new and unexpected difficulties and changes for the entire global community. We have been faced with an unprecedented level of disruption to the way we all live and work. If you would like, you can join us in helping students navigate through this difficult time by making a donation or by leaving a message of support to those in need.