An extra $2.2m in COVID-19 support available for students

International students line up to receive free meals and groceries as part of a range of measures available to support struggling students impacted by the pandemic

The third round of Griffith University’s COVID-19 Student Support Bursary has opened, a month before the first wave of students start returning to campuses after transitioning online during Trimester One.

Professor Carolyn Evans
Vice Chancellor Professor Carolyn Evans

Griffith UniversityVice Chancellor and PresidentProfessor Carolyn Evans said the University remained committed to helpingas manystudentsas possiblethrough what has been an incredibly difficult time.

“The first two rounds of Griffith’s COVID-19 Student Support Bursary provided $3.96m in assistance payments to almost 3800 students,” Professor Evans said.

“The third round opened last week and has already received 996 applications, the majority of whom are international students.

“I’m pleased to be able to say that thanks to new government funding and sizeable donations from both the public and University staff, the balance available in this round is in the vicinity of $2.2m.”

“As part of our return to campus plan, while all lectures remain online for Trimester Two, we look forward to welcoming students back to campus for face-to-face learning experiences with a staged return starting from next week and rolling out until mid-August.

“We know that many students are however still struggling financially and many of those who lost their part-time jobs are restricted in returning to work or in the number of shifts they can take as a result of the government guidelines.”

Hannah Price

Gold Coast student Hannah Price said it was a great help to receive funding from the bursary during Trimester One.

“The grant allowed me to set up a home office with a desk, chair, printer and text books needed to continue my psychology studies,” she said.

“I am so very grateful for this support.”

Mercy Nyanchoga was also thrilled to receive assistance, which helped her continue towards her Master of Advanced Health Services Management despite extremely trying circumstances.

“The bursary was mainly used to pay my outstanding utility bills especially since I was in placement and couldn’t work.”

Hear from other students about the support they received.

Professor Evans said assistance provided by Griffith’s COVID-19 Student Support Bursary was complemented by a range of other support mechanisms in place to help at-risk members of our university community.

International students hit hard by the crisis continue to access more than 3200 free meals each week on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane.

International student Chidinma Ejiogu appreciates the support being given through free meals.

A consortium including Foodbank, FareShare, Study Gold Coast and Study Queensland has been supplying funding, frozen meals and grocery staples to help support students with the equivalent of about five meals per week.

Griffith UniversityVice President (Global) Professor Sarah Toddsaid many students had been left jobless during the pandemic, but unlike their domestic counterparts, international students had limited access to government financial support and were relying on swiftly depleting savings to survive.

“In addition, many who would normally receive support from families and others in their home country have been unable to access that financial support due to economic impacts globally.

“Providing free meals offers pragmatic assistance to students in need, as well as reinforcing the care and concern for them shown by different organisations in the local community.”

Other support measures in place for impacted students include a computer loan scheme, 20% fee discount for international students in Trimester Two, counselling services and other social and community support tools.

“Griffith prides itself on providing educational opportunities for all and will continue to do what it can to help students continue their education through the bursary and other avenues,” Professor Evans said.

“Over the course of my career, I have never seen a more difficult year for students and the pandemic has thrown up many challenges for Griffith and its community.

“As COVID-19 restrictions relax, our staff and students will return to our physical campuses in carefully considered stages.

“As we can see from Victoria however, these new freedoms must not be taken for granted and the University continues to follow government advice to ensure the health and safety of our community is protected.”

Public donations towardsthe University’sCOVID 19 support bursary can bemade