South Australia pledges AU$13.8m to help international students

Are you studying in South Australia but recently lost your job? You may be eligible for an emergency cash grant. South Australia is the latest Australian state to pledge support for international students facing hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.There are around 267,000 international students still living and studying at Australian universities. The South Australian Government has recently announced an AU$13.8 million support package for international students who are affected by the pandemic but not eligible for either JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments.

According to a release by Universities Australia, an AU$10 million fund will be distributed via schemes run by the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia and applications will be determined against a careful set of rules to assess need.

This package also includes emergency cash grants worth AU$500 for international students “not studying at one of the public universities, currently enrolled in a course, living in South Australia and who meet the criteria”, and a one-off AU$200 assistance payment for those living with homestay families.

SA Trade and Investment Minister David Ridgway told SBS, “International students are very much a part of our community and we are keen to ensure they are supported at this difficult and uncertain time.”

“Ensuring international students are supported as much as possible will assist in maintaining South Australia’s global reputation for international education and will provide peace of mind for the families of these students living thousands of kilometres away from them as we face such an uncertain time.”

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said, “International education is Australia’s fourth-biggest export but in South Australia it is their largest. This support package is a sensible and compassionate investment in helping individual students, as well as the State’s wider education sector.”

Australian universities are all offering some form of hardship support for international students.

The cash grants by the South Australian government will add on to the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia’s own support packages which include emergency financial grants, accommodation, food vouchers and academic support.

Jackson said that it is “heartening” to observe how more and more state governments are offering support for international students who “add so much culturally and economically wherever they study.”

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