Please be aware! You may find that in general rental accommodation in Sydney is much more expensive than in your home country! We advise that you start familiarising yourself with options for long-term accommodation (and their prices) before you depart.

How can I find permanent accommodation?

Please see Accommodation and Housing and International Student Housing Assistance.  

A summary of useful accommodation information can be found here.

I have changed my address in Australia, what should I do?

Please go to myUNSW to update your contact details. Please also remember to inform your bank, health insurance provider and contact the Department of Home Affairs to update your details.

What can I do if I experience difficulties with my landlord or flatmates?

Please visit the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

We would also recommend that you book a consultation with an International Student Advisor (ISA) for personalised advice and information.

How will I receive my stipend payments?

Your stipend is paid fortnightly by the University into your nominated Australian bank account in arrears. The first payment should be paid on the first payday after your arrival. Following the first payment, stipend will be paid in accordance with UNSW fortnightly pay periods.

Is my stipend a taxable income?

No. Stipend is currently income tax exempt. Please refer to the Australian Tax Office website: for information on Australian tax laws.

Can I change my bank account?

Yes. If you change your bank account, please update your details immediately on myUNSW so that stipend payments are made to the correct bank account. Do not close your old bank account immediately to allow for any possible outstanding payments to be made.

Please send an email to [email protected] once your Bank Account details have been updated on myUNSW. 

Can my stipend be paid in advance?

No. Stipend is paid in arrears. Advance payment is not possible.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Please be aware!The Australian Government sets a recommended fee for medical services but some doctors charge above this amount. Your Medibank OSHC policy covers 100% of the Government recommended fee for a visit to your doctor (outside hospital). If your doctor charges above the Government recommended fee, you must pay the difference.

Will you arrange my Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)?

Your Student Contact Officer (SCO) will arrange for your single OSHC policy to start on the day you arrive in Australia for the length of your student visa with Medibank, the UNSW preferred provider. It is a requirement of your visa that you have sufficient health cover from the day you arrive in Australia. You will receive your Policy Certificate when you meet your SCO. 

If you require any medical assistance in Australia before you meet your SCO, please call Medibank on 132 331. You will need to provide them with the exact name and date of birth you have provided the university in order to use your policy.

If you require your OSHC policy before you depart your home country, e. g. to upgrade your single cover to spouse or family cover, please contact us at [email protected] for guidance.

My OSHC is about to expire. What should I do?

If you notice that your OSHC is about to expire while you are still in Australia on your student visa, you need to urgently notify your Student Contact Officer (SCO). Together we will investigate the matter and extend your policy if required.

Does my OSHC cover me if I go on fieldwork or attend a conference in another country?

No. Your OSHC policy only covers you while you are in Australia. However, UNSW provides all students with a Corporate Travel Insurance which covers you whilst travelling more than 100 kilometres on approved UNSW business. For details please contact your SCO.


Do I need to attend the Introductory Academic Program (IAP) before the commencement of my study?

Yes. Attendance at the IAP is compulsory for all awardees. Failure to attend the IAP may result in the termination of the scholarship. UNSW is required to keep an attendance record to be provided to DFAT Canberra upon request. If you cannot arrive in time for the start of the IAP prior to the commencement of your study period, we will recommend that you defer to the next term.

How do I apply for Supplementary Academic Support (SAS)?

UNSW Faculties, Schools and Departments offer a variety of free academic support services as well as Mentoring Programs.  We have created a Handbook for you to easily identify these support services.

SAS can be granted where the institution, awardee or Program Area identifies that assistance is required in line with the institution's academic requirements. Please visit the Australia Awards Moodle page where you have access to our Procedures for step by step guidance and the respective application forms to use Supplementary Academic Support for below purposes. For enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].

  • Tutoring, Academic Support and Thesis Editing
  • Academic Training, Workshop and Conference Attendance

Can I change my course?

ANY change to your scholarship, including a program transfer, you need to discuss first of all with an International Student Advisor (ISA). Any request for a transfer must be compatible with the original scholarship application, Partner Government requirements (where applicable) and country program priorities. If the name or CRICOS code of the program changes (which in most cases does), the change needs to be approved by DFAT at their discretion. The course transfer cannot result in an extension of time to the scholarship! Equally, a change to the field of study is not permitted (e.g. from a law to an arts degree). You can book a consultation with an International Student Advisor (ISA) for personalised advice and information.

Can I enrol in less or more than 18 units of credit?

ANY enrolment that is more or less than 18 units of credit (UOC) needs to be approved by an International Student Advisor (ISA). You can book a consultation with an International Student Advisor (ISA) for personalised advice and information. 

What should I do if I fail a course?

Once results are released and we see that you have failed a subject, we will get in contact with you to start the process of developing an appropriate strategy for the continuation of your scholarship.

You will be required to create an action plan that is signed off by both your program authority and your International Student Advisor (ISA). All the details will be in the email you receive.

Can I enrol in an online course or study via distance mode?

An important element of your Australia Awards Scholarship is for you to participate in the full academic experience, e.g. communicating and interacting with other students, building linkages with academics, participating in class, using English in the classroom, etc. By doing courses online or via distance, you are not getting this experience.

DFAT recommends that you seek a course that can be done face-to-face. Should you encounter a situation where one of your compulsory courses is full and the only alternative is to enrol into this course via online mode, please book a consultation with an International Student Advisor (ISA) immediately for personalised advice and information.

Does DFAT approve extensions?

Extensions are decided on a case by case basis and need the approval from DFAT. A request for extension will generally not be considered for a study program that is only one academic year in length. Apart from Honours year extensions, only one extension of up to six months will be approved for the duration of the scholarship. If you would like to discuss the option of an extension, you can book a consultation with an International Student Advisor (ISA) for personalised advice and information.

Am I allowed to participate in an exchange program whilst on an Australia Awards Scholarship?

No. The participation in an exchange program whilst on an Australia Awards Scholarship is not permitted.

For research students

PRSS Conference travel funds

The Postgraduate Research Student Support (PRSS) Scheme is a centrally funded initiative to provide eligible postgraduate researchers with the opportunity to apply for funding to assist in presenting their research at international conferences outside of Australia. For details please visit

Research Student Progress Report

Your Sponsored Students Contact Officer (SSCO) will send you, with copy to your supervisor, a Request for Research Student Progress Report twice a year. Under the terms of your scholarship we are required to enter details of your academic progress into DFAT’s database. It is your responsibility to meet with your supervisor to complete this form and to return it to the SSCO by the due date!


Travel Concession for Australia Awards Scholarship Recipients

Australia Awards Scholarship recipients are eligible to receive travel concession at the commencement of their first term at UNSW. This travel concession will not be granted while attending any preparatory programs, e.g. Pre-Course English (PCE) or Introductory Academic Program (IAP).  Under a long-standing policy, fully funded Australian Government scholarship recipients are entitled to a transport concession if they meet relevant criteria.

Eligibility criteria for transport concessions in New South Wales are determined by the New South Wales Minister for Transport on behalf of the Government of New South Wales. The full version of the Guidelines are available at

For more details on your eligibility for Concession Opal card in Sydney please visit:


How do I make my flight bookings (reunion/fieldwork/completion)?

Please get in touch with your Students Contact Officer (SCO) by sending an email to [email protected] indicating the purpose of your travel. The SCO will respond to your email with further details. Payment for all travel arrangements will be made through the ISEU office, therefore, please do not pay for any travel yourself unless previously approved by us.

Am I eligible for reunion airfares?

Under the AAS Policy Handbook 2019 (PDF), section 10.8 Reunion Airfare, unaccompanied AAS Students holding a scholarship for 2 academic years as minimum are eligible for Reunion Airfare. Please refer to the Scholarship entitlements for more details. 

Does DFAT pay for fieldwork travel and related costs?

Students who have a fieldwork entitlement are able to travel back home during their scholarship to conduct fieldwork. This entitlement only covers the cost of the return airfare. To apply please complete the Fieldwork Travel Form

Please note: PhD students are entitled to three trips that can be either reunion or fieldwork. Masters students are entitled to one trip that can be either reunion or fieldwork.

Can I choose which airline I travel on?

You are to travel by the most direct route and are entitled to the 'best fare of the day' which is the cheapest economy class fare available during the period of travel. Any special discount fares need to be utilised. Therefore, it is not always possible to consider your preferred airline.


Please be aware! Dependant spouses who choose to join their partner studying in Australia can usually obtain permission to work, but may find it difficult to secure equivalent employment in their profession. Quite often qualifications obtained in your home country might not be recognized in Australia so it is important to be realistic and flexible in terms of the nature of the work, the hours and the pay you may receive in Australia. Taking this approach to job seeking will help you plan your household income in Australia and avoid disappointment. A student may need to budget an additional minimum of A$8,000 a year for a spouse and up to A$3,720 a year for each child.

If you want to check whether your overseas qualification(s) is recognised in Australia, please visit this website for more information -

Can my family join me straight away in Australia?

DFAT does not stipulate when it is best to have your family join you in Australia. However, please note that Student Development International (SDI) does not support the arrival of family members during the period of the Introductory Academic Program (IAP).

We strongly recommend families to allow at least three (3) months from the Australia Awards Scholarship recipient's arrival in Australia prior to their own arrival in Australia as this will allow time for you to adjust to the new environment and sufficient time to finalise practical arrangements, such as accommodation, childcare, schooling etc. Please note that DFAT does not provide any financial or other support for your dependents!

When you decide to have your family joining you in Australia, you forfeit your reunion travel entitlement. Before we provide you with a support letter for your dependents' visa application, we need to make an appointment with you, discuss any questions you may have and you need to sign a declaration at the end of your meeting which we will keep on your student file. You can book a consultation with an International Student Advisor (ISA) for personalised advice and information.

Please prepare the Acknowledgement of Family Entry Responsibilities form and budget calculations prior to your appointment.


Can I suspend my Australia Awards Scholarship?

A scholarship may be suspended for a maximum total of twelve (12) months if deemed necessary for health or family reasons and will need to be approved by the DFAT Program Area (or Partner Government if applicable). You are to return to your home country (with your family if you are accompanied) at your own cost and no contribution to living expenses (stipend) will be paid for the period of your suspension. 

You must contact your Sponsored Students Liaison Officer (SSLO) at least two months prior to the date of your return to Australia to discuss your scholarship recommencement date. You must, at your own expense, ensure that your visa and passport are valid prior to your return to Australia.

Does my student visa allow me to work while I study?

Yes. As an international student you are allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during a term and unlimited hours during term breaks. However, DFAT advises that any employment undertaken during the term times may compromise your academic progress. The successful completion of your scholarship is to be your main focus.

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