New Colombo Plan - Connect to Australia's future, study in the region. Australian Government

Mobility Program

Mobility Grants FAQ

1. What is the New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility pilot? Updated 21 February 2014

The New Colombo Plan Mobility pilot provides opportunities for Australian universities and university consortia to provide grants to Australian undergraduate students to participate in semester based or short term study in one of four eligible destinations: Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Applications are for study options in 2014 and the first half of 2015. For more information, please see the NCP mobility program pilot guidelines.

The pilot phase consists of two tranches of applications for funding:

Tranche 1 will allow universities or university consortia to submit one application each – either individually or as a member of a consortium, for a single destination for study options within projects which must be undertaken in first semester, 2014. Tranche 1 applications closed on 23 January 2014. Universities that received an offer of funding for Tranche 1 may proceed based on the contents of their application and project schedule.

Tranche 2 will allow universities or university consortia to submit applications for one or more destinations for study options within projects in second semester, 2014 and first semester, 2015.

Universities or university consortia can submit only one application for each of the pilot destinations. These applications (including those submitted as part of a consortium) should be ranked in order of the university’s/consortium’s priorities (see also Q41 below). The rankings will be taken into account by assessors along with assessment against the selection criteria.
Tranche 2 applications must be submitted by the designated university officer (usually the International Liaison Officer) through the ISEO system

Tranche 2 will be open for application between 21 February and 21 March 2014. Applications must be submitted by no later than 11:59pm on 21 March 2014

2. How much funding is available for mobility grants under the New Colombo Plan mobility pilot? Updated 18 December 2013

The New Colombo Plan mobility pilot aims to support Australian undergraduate students with approximately $4million in mobility grants to be used for study options across the four pilot destinations.

The funding for the pilot mobility program is to be utilised for Tranches 1 and 2 of the pilot. The Government is encouraging involvement across the university sector.

Therefore, in any application universities should ensure that projects can be scaled up or down to assist with funding decisions and to help the university distribute any funding offers accordingly.

3. Is there a limit on the number of projects a university can submit? Updated 10 February 2013

Universities may submit applications for each of the four destination countries in Tranche 2. Applications can include several projects/activities. Universities should be aware of the funding available, and submit realistic applications of priority activities.

4. How can NCP mobility pilot funding be used?

Funding is to be used to support students undertaking a short-term or semester study experience in one of the pilot destinations.

Funding is allocated to students (as a direct grant) through their university. The grants are intended to offset some of the costs associated with participating in a mobility experience.

Grants to students must be no less than $1000 and no more than $3000 for short-term study options and no less than $3000 and no more than $7000 for semester study options. The grants can also be used for language training that is part of the student’s study option.

The grants can also be used for language training that is part of the student's study option. The Program is intended to support the study of relevant languages as part of the student's study experience in the Indo Pacific region, but this is not a mandatory element. Language study, where undertaken, can take place either in Australia prior to departure or while in the host destination, and universities are encouraged to consider how the language study will support the study experience (5.1 Guidelines). Updated 18 December 2013

Universities can access a maximum of 10 per cent of the total funding they receive for the purpose of subsidising costs associated with program administration, including the evaluation reporting requirement.

Details of expenditure must be provided in the evaluation report to be submitted by universities and consortia (See section 8.1 of the mobility program pilot guidelines).

5. Do all student grants need to be the same amount?

Students travelling to the same destination for the same type and length of study should receive the same subsidy amounts.

However, students travelling to different destination countries or locations, or undertaking different study options, may need different subsidy amounts. Universities should use their discretion when allocating funding to make sure that all students are provided with reasonable financial support.

Note: Grants must remain within the funding bands for short-term ($1,000 - $3,000) or semester ($3,000 - $7,000).

6. When can NCP mobility pilot funding be used?

The NCP mobility pilot is for study options in 2014 and the first half of 2015.

7. Are programs able to be undertaken during semester breaks? Updated 21 February 2014

Yes, programs may be undertaken during semester breaks.

Recipients of Tranche 1 funding should depart by 30 June 2014. The evaluation report for Tranche 1 is due in July/August 2014 so study should not extend beyond this period.

Recipients of Tranche 2 funding can depart Australia as soon as a funding agreement is in place. Study should be completed by 31 July 2015. Proposed arrangements outside of this timeframe will be considered on a case-by-case basis and should be set out in Tranche 2 applications and emailed to student.mobility@education.gov.au before 21 March 2014.

8. Where can NCP students study in the mobility pilot?

The four NCP pilot destinations are:

  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong.

9. What types of study options are eligible under the NCP mobility pilot?

Eligible study options include:

  • Semester based study of enrolment in one or two semesters (up to 12 months)
  • Practicums
  • Clinical placements
  • Internships / mentorships
  • Short term research
  • Short term study
  • Volunteer placements.

Any study option must be for academic credit or otherwise be a mandatory component of the student's course.

10. Can NCP mobility pilot projects involve travel to more than one country?

No. The NCP mobility pilot does not support travel to multiple destinations within the same application.

11. Are internships/mentorships compulsory under the NCP mobility pilot? Updated 25 March 2014

No. However, universities are encouraged to assist students in undertaking internships or mentorships as part of their overseas study. Universities' ability to provide internships is also part of the application selection criteria (See section 5 of the NCP mobility program pilot guidelines).

Internships/mentorships may be undertaken as part of a mobility program, or they may be the sole component of a mobility program.  For example:

  • students doing a semester exchange in Japan may spend their final three weeks undertaking an internship with a local company
  • a cohort of students may travel to Singapore to undertake one-month internships with local businesses

Internships do not need to be undertaken as part of a semester project. The maximum duration of internship/mentorship opportunities is six months (full-time). All internships and mentorships need to provide credit towards the grant recipient’s course, and/or be a mandatory course component.

12. Is there support for language study under the NCP mobility pilot?

Yes, language study for an official language of the host destination is supported under the pilot (See section 3.2.2 of the NCP mobility pilot guidelines).

There is no separate grant for language study, but universities are encouraged to consider how the projects can support additional language study. The ability of universities to support language study will also be part of the application selection criteria (See section 5 of the NCP mobility program pilot guidelines).

Language funding is not intended for study that is part of the students' normal course enrolment.

13. Is there a Project Facilitation Subsidy?

Universities can access a maximum of 10% of the total funding they receive for the purpose of subsidising the costs associated with project administration including evaluation reporting requirements.

14. Will there be guidelines issues for the reporting requirements? Added 7 January 2014

Specific guidelines for the reporting will be provided in due course. The mobility guidelines already provide some information on the reporting requirements including the timeframes.

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Eligibility

15. Who can apply for NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Only Australian universities or consortia of Australian universities are eligible to apply.

Where an application is from a consortium, the consortium will be required to nominate a lead university and list its university members in the application (see also Q41). Consortia must be made up of Australian universities listed under Table A or B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA). The lead university will be accountable for meeting the legal and reporting requirements on behalf of the consortium (See section 2.1.1 of the NCP mobility pilot guidelines).

16. Which higher education providers are eligible to apply for NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Only Australian universities that are Table A or B providers under the HESA can apply for NCP funding.

For more information about Table A and B providers please visit http://content.myuniversity.gov.au/sites/MyUniversity/pages/about

17. Can a university submit an application as an individual institution and again as a participating member of a consortium? Updated 10 February 2014

Yes, two separate applications can be submitted.

18. If a consortium has foreign university members or non-university members, would they be excluded from receiving any funding?

No. However, foreign universities and non-university members are not eligible to receive funding. In the application, consortia will be required to list which Australian member institutions will be receiving funding under their application and should exclude ineligible entities.

19. Can consortia still partner with foreign university or non-university members of their consortium?

Yes. Consortia can still work with their foreign university or non-university members as long as they remain compliant with the guidelines and funding agreement.

20. Do all study options within projects have to involve a partner institution? Updated 18 December 2013

No, there is no requirement for projects to have a partner. This allows for study abroad programs to take place under the NCP Mobility Grants Pilot, that is, semester based or short-term projects at non-partner institutions.

21. Who can receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

NCP grants are for Australian students that are:

  • an Australian citizen. Students with dual citizenship are eligible, however they must undertake their study in a third country, of which they are not a citizen;
  • enrolled in an Australian university at the time of application and throughout their study. An Australian university is defined as a supplier listed under Table A or Table B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003;
  • between 18 and 28 years of age at the commencement of their study program; and
  • undertaking a Bachelor’s degree level program (Pass or Honours) onshore at an Australia university campus at the commencement of the program.

Grants are provided to students through their university.

22. Would a graduate-entry Bachelor's degree be classified as 'Undergraduate'? (i.e.: MBBS) Added 7 January 2014

Yes, students undertaking graduate entry Bachelor's degree programs are eligible for NCP grants.

23. Are dual citizens eligible to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

Yes, students with dual citizenship may receive NCP grants. However, they can only study in countries where they do not hold citizenship. Students should not receive a grant to study in a country if they are a citizen of that country.

24. Are graduate research students (PhD and Masters students) eligible to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

No. NCP funding is only available for Australian undergraduates.

25. Are vocational education students eligible to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

No. NCP funding is only available for undergraduate higher education students.

Vocational students may still receive funding under existing student mobility programs such as the VET Outbound Mobility Program. For more information, please go to www.aei.gov.au

26. Are international students able to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

No.

27. Can a student receive more than one NCP mobility pilot grant?

No, students are only eligible to receive one NCP mobility grant in the pilot round.

28. Does the study program/funded activity have to count for credit towards a student’s course? Updated 18 December 2013

Yes. All study must be for academic credit or a mandatory part of the student's course.

29. Must students study in a language other than English? Added 7 January 2014

It is not mandatory for students to undertake NCP funded study in courses in a language other than English.

30. Are activities that are a "mandatory component of the student's course" eligible for mobility grant funding even if the activity is not for credit? Added 7 January 2014

Yes, if the activities are a mandatory part of the course they are eligible for funding.

31. Is there any funding available for destinations outside the Indo Pacific region?

NCP mobility pilot funding is for study in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Following the full roll-out of the NCP in 2015, funding will be available for study in destinations across the Indo Pacific.

Other student mobility programs support study in a wide range of destinations. Information on these programs is available at www.aei.gov.au

32. Can projects include study at an Australian institution’s offshore campus?

No, under the NCP mobility grants pilot, study at an Australian institutions offshore campus in one of the pilot destinations is not permitted.

33. Can projects include study at any other non-local university in a pilot country? (for example an American or British university)? Updated 18 December 2013

No, under the NCP mobility grants pilot, study is intended to be undertaken at a local university, where a period of study at a university is part of the mobility program application.

34. Does Tranche 2 allow for funding applications for students who will be overseas at the time of application? UPDATED 21 FEBRUARY 2014

Funding is not available for students already overseas at the time the program commences.

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Applications

35. How can my university apply for NCP mobility pilot funding?

Applications for Tranche 2 funding will be through the ISEO system .

All applications must be submitted by the university's nominated International Liaison Officer (ILO).

Note: The ILO of the lead university in a university consortium application will be the person responsible for submitting applications on behalf of the consortium.

Universities may apply for one or both Tranches. Participation in Tranche 1 is optional and will not preclude a university being approved for funding under Tranche 2. Funds will be provided before the end of the 2013-14 financial year.

36. What is ISEO?

ISEO is the Department of Education’s online application and project management system for student mobility applications. This is where registered university officers (usually the International Liaison Officer) will apply for NCP funding either by downloading the application form for Tranche 1, or submitting online from Tranche 2.

Except for Tranche 1, all applications must be submitted through ISEO. For ease of administration and to prevent duplication, only the nominated ILO or assistant ILO is able to access the ISEO system.

Universities or consortia representing universities must be registered online via ISEO before any applications are submitted. They must also have a current contractual agreement (Deed of Standing Offer) between their institution and the Department of Education.

37. Is there a word limit for responses against the selection criteria in New Colombo Plan mobility pilot applications? Updated 10 February 2014

There is a set word limit of 500 words for Tranche 2 applications.

Applicants are encouraged to be succinct in their responses, while still clearly addressing the selection criteria.

38. What if the university doesn't have an ILO?

To nominate an ILO and register for ISEO, please contact the Department of Education at student.mobility@education.gov.au

39. How can a university consortium apply for NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Applications for Tranche 2 funding will be through the ISEO system.

The international liaison officer of the lead university of a consortium application should submit applications on behalf of the consortium.

The ILO can submit applications on behalf of the consortium in the same way as they would for an individual university.

To nominate an ILO and register for ISEO, please contact the Department of Education at student.mobility@education.gov.au

40. Can universities rank their own individual applications separately from any applications they submit on behalf of a consortium? Added 10 February 2014

Yes. The ISEO system requires lead universities submitting applications on behalf of consortiums to rank those applications.  Separately, those same universities need to rank their own applications.  For example, if a lead university submitted four applications on behalf of a consortium, it would rank those consortium applications from 1 to 4. The university would also then rank its own applications.

41. When can the university submit an application for Tranche 2 funding?

Applications for Tranche 2 will be through the ISEO system.

Tranche 2 will be open for application between 21 February and 21 March 2014. Applications must be submitted by no later than 11:59pm on 21 March 2014.

42. Can the university submit more than one application? UPDATED 21 FEBRUARY 2014

Universities and consortium may submit more than one application in Tranche 2, one for each of the pilot destinations. However applications must be ranked in order strategic priorities. These rankings will be taken into account by assessors along with assessment against the selection criteria.

Example for Tranche 2
Application Location Rank Study Options Proposed Funding
1 Japan 1
  • Volunteer project with language study
  • Internship in Engineering
  • Short Term Study Graphic Arts and Design
  • Semester-based study in nanotechnology with language study
$70,000
2 Hong Kong 2
  • Internship in business with language study
  • Semester based in environmental studies with language study
$45,000
3 Indonesia 3
  • Short Term volunteer work
  • Internship in Engineering with language study
  • Short Term Study Graphic Arts and Design
$92,000
4 Singapore 4
  • Clinical Placement
  • Mentorship in commercial law with language study
  • Short-term study
  • Volunteer project
$55,000

43. What details will universities need to provide in their applications?

For each application, universities will need to provide the following:

  • Name of institution/consortium
  • Name of ILO submitting application
  • Destination
  • Partner institutions (if known)
  • Faculty(ies) or School(s)
  • Details of study options within projects
  • Responses against each selection criterion
  • Amount of funding sought

Each destination country will require a separate application

44. Are universities restricted to only one type of study option in each destination?

No. When applying for funding for a particular destination, universities should list all the study options planned for that destination. For example, a particular pilot destination may have semester study, practicums, clinical placements and internships/mentorships, while another pilot destination may have semester study and internships/mentorships. Universities do not have to choose only one type of study option for each destination.

To be successful for funding the study option must be compliant with all criteria as outlined in the program guidelines. The Department of Education may approve the compliant study options within an application while rejecting non-compliant options in the same application.

Projects should be designed so that they can be scaled up or down depending on the available funding. Universities should ensure that activities can be disaggregated if necessary (or scaled up or down, as per the guidelines) to assist the committee with funding decisions, bearing in mind the funding available for the pilot mobility program to be spread across both tranches. Updated 18 December 2013

45. Do universities have to submit an application for every pilot destination?

No. Universities should only submit applications for destinations in which they can effectively implement mobility projects for their students.

46. How will applications be assessed? Updated 18 December 2013

Applications will be assessed by appropriate officers from the Department of Education to determine eligibility and to create a shortlist for the panel’s consideration.

Decisions on funding will be made by a panel of senior representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The details of the selection process for the mobility program are as follows:

  • Eligibility is determined against the criteria. Ineligible proposals might, for example, be for students going to a country other than one of the 4 pilot countries, or for postgraduate students, or for a study tour that does not provide credit or is not a mandatory element of the students’ course.
  • A selection panel will then consider all eligible applications on their merits against the selection criteria (5.1 Guidelines) and program objectives (1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 Guidelines). In Tranche 2 (for which universities may lodge up to four proposals for the 4 pilot countries) universities will also indicate their own priority rankings. The higher rankings tend to be given to projects that build on existing research collaboration or teaching partnerships, or that extend into an institution where the university is working hard to develop a new relationship.
  • The panel will seek to achieve a spread across institutions (3.1 Guidelines), across pilot destination countries (5.1 Guidelines), and will allocate approximately 70 per cent for semester based projects and 30 per cent for short term study (1.5 Guidelines). The panel will also look at the quality of the proposals in relation to the program objectives (1.3 and 1.4 Guidelines).
  • In selecting projects to fund within the budget available, the panel will also consider where institutions have indicated projects could be scaled up or down (1.4 Guidelines).

47. When will universities find out the outcomes of their applications? Updated 10 February 2014

Tranche 1 outcomes will be made available in early February 2014. Tranche 2 outcomes will be made available in April 2014.

48. When will funding become available?

Funding will be made available once universities/university consortia have submitted the required documentation and invoice.

49. What are the reporting requirements for the NCP mobility pilot?

Successful universities will need to submit all of the following:

  • Pre departure details for each recipient including travel dates and destinations, project name and contact details (phone and email)
  • Evaluation report for Tranche 1
  • Mid-way Evaluation report for Tranche 2
  • Final Evaluation report for Tranche 2
  • Completion report
Timeline Activity
July/August 2014 Tranche 1 Evaluation report due
31 January 2015 Tranche 2 mid-way evaluation report due
31 July 2015 Tranche 2 final evaluation report due
Completion report for Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 due

50. How do universities incorporate the 10 per cent administrative subsidy component into their funding applications? Added 7 January 2014

Universities should estimate the total funding for all study options to be undertaken within their application and add 10 per cent to that amount to be used for administration expenses. For example, if an institution would like to apply for $30,000 for grants for students, 10 per cent can then be added to that total, bringing the total funding applied for to $33,000.

51. How long does my university have to use NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Tranche 1 funding is to be used for study in first semester 2014. Students should depart Australia by 30 June 2014. The Tranche 1 evaluation report is due in July/August 2014 so study should not extend beyond this period.

Tranche 2 funding must be used for study in second semester 2014 and first semester 2015. Study can also be undertaken during semester breaks. Projects may commence as soon as there is a funding agreement in place. The completion report for both Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 is due 31 July 2015 and all projects should be completed by this date.

52. If funding is sought for 15 students but ultimately only 10 students are allocated to a project, can the funds be dispersed across the project or are the fund to individual students only? Added 7 January 2014

Funding for students can be reallocated provided it falls within the flexible funding bands of $1000-$3000 for short term projects and $3000-$7000 for semester based projects. Funds can be used at the university's discretion, provided that all students undertaking the same project receive the same grant amount and that the university reports against how the funds were allocated. Unspent funds will have to be returned to the Department of Education as specified in the Funding Agreement.

For example, a university may request $30,000 for 15 students as part of an application for Japan. However, only 10 students were able to be allocated to this project. The leftover $10,000 may be:

  • reallocated towards another project within the scope of the Japan application, provided that all students on this project will still receive the same grant amount
  • returned to the Department of Education

53. Can NCP mobility pilot funding be offered to students who have already received a grant under another mobility program administered by the Department of Education such as AsiaBound, ISEP or STMP? Updated 18 December 2013

Eligible students who have already received a grant under other programs administered by the Department of Education, such as AsiaBound, ISEP or STMP, are not precluded from funding under the New Colombo Plan mobility pilot. However, universities should consider the greatest benefit from this program in extending the experience of study in the Indo Pacific region to as many students as possible. The grants must be applied for and provided to the student under separate projects.

54. What is happening to AsiaBound and other mobility programs such as STMP?

Student mobility programs administered by the Department of Education will continue throughout the pilot phase of the NCP. Further information and details of any future changes will be provided in due course.

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For students

55. How can I receive NCP mobility pilot funding?

In the first instance students should speak to the student mobility office at their Australian university. Students do not apply for funding directly. Universities submit applications and, if successful, provide grants to their eligible students.

56. Will I lose my income support payments (eg Youth Allowance) while on a NCP project?

You can still receive many Centrelink payments while you are studying overseas, depending on the circumstances of your study. Visit Centrelink for more information about your payment while studying overseas.

57. Are there any other funding sources available to assist me with my overseas study costs?

Yes. The OS-HELP loan scheme provides loans for eligible Commonwealth-supported students who want to undertake some of their study overseas and is intended to cover some of the costs of overseas study such as travel and accommodation. For more information about the OS-HELP loan scheme please visit the OS-HELP website.

Individual universities may also have their own programs to support overseas study.

If you are interested in overseas study you should contact the student mobility office at your university, as they will be able to provide you with more advice about what specific opportunities may be available.

58. What are the changes to the OS-HELP from 1 January 2014?

OS-HELP is a loan program to assist eligible students to pay expenses associated with undertaking overseas study as part of their higher education. Changes to the OS-HELP scheme from 1 January 2014 will support the Government’s New Colombo Plan initiative by providing additional assistance for students who undertake overseas study in the Indo Pacific region.

The maximum loan amount for students undertaking study in the region will be increased to $7,500 in 2014, $1250 more than for other destinations. This funding will send a strong signal to students of the Government’s support for engagement with the region.

As language can be a barrier to overseas travel for many students, a new loan of up to $1,000 has been introduced to assist eligible students with the cost of language training taken in preparation for study in the region.

Changes to the OS-HELP eligibility requirements will also allow students to receive OS-HELP assistance for any overseas study experience that counts towards their Australian degree, including clinical placements and internships. This change complements the New Colombo Plan’s hallmark internship component.

59. What kinds of overseas study can students receive OS-HELP assistance for?

To receive OS-HELP assistance, a student’s overseas study must count towards their degree. Types of overseas study for which students could receive OS-HELP assistance could include, but are not limited to, semester or year-long exchanges, study tours, clinical placements and internships.

60. Where can I go for more information about the NCP?

Information about the New Colombo Plan is also available at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, at www.dfat.gov.au/new-colombo-plan

61. Where can I find information about studying overseas?

For more information about studying overseas, please check the following websites: www.studyoverseas.gov.au and www.world-class.com.au

62. Am I eligible for the NCP mobility program if I am an Australian citizen but have permanent residency in another country?

Applicants with dual citizenship or Australian citizenship and permanent residency in another country are eligible under the New Colombo Plan, however, they must undertake their scholarship or mobility program in a third destination, of which they are not a citizen or permanent resident.

63. How will Australian Government representatives assist New Colombo Plan students overseas?19 March 2014

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can provide consular services to Australian students when they are overseas, in the same way it does for other Australians overseas. The Consular Services Charter sets out the standards of service all Australians can expect to receive from consular staff, including what they can and cannot do.

Students should check the Smartraveller website http://smartraveller.gov.au/ operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for information about risks overseas and how they can better prepare for overseas travel, register their travel and subscribe to the relevant travel advisory.

Mobility Program guidelines

1. Program Overview

1.1 Purpose of these Guidelines

The purpose of these Guidelines is to outline the process for allocating funding for the pilot of the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program (The Program). These Guidelines commence on 10 December 2013.

1.2 About the Program

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government that aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia and strengthen our people-to-people and institutional relationships, through study and internship / mentorship undertaken by Australian undergraduate grant recipients in the region.

The New Colombo Plan is intended to be transformational, deepening relationships with the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other stakeholder links. Over time, the Australian Government hopes to see study in the Indo Pacific region become a “rite of passage” for Australian undergraduate grant recipients, and as an endeavour that is highly valued across the Australian community.

The Australian Government has announced $100 million of new funding over five years for the New Colombo Plan. A close partnership between governments, universities and business will support the realisation of this important initiative.

The New Colombo Plan has two key elements: a mobility program that will support many Australian undergraduates to undertake a study or internship/mentorship in the Indo Pacific region; and a scholarship program that will provide opportunities for a select number of undergraduates to undertake a long-term study in the region. The opportunity for an internship/mentorship component is also a hallmark of the New Colombo Plan.

1.3 The New Colombo Plan Strategic Objectives

The New Colombo Plan aims to:

1.4 The New Colombo Plan Pilot Objectives

Specifically, the pilot program aims to:

1.5 The New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants Program Pilot

In this pilot round, approximately $4 million is available in 2013-14 for universities to provide subsidies to Australian undergraduate grant recipients to participate in short term study in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, and to support the development of international mobility opportunities at their institution. Diversity of study options, disciplines and grant recipients is encouraged.

Applications are for study options in 2014 and the first half of 2015.

The pilot has been designed to give universities the flexibility to explore the most effective delivery systems, propose innovative new study options and explore which models are most successful in engaging and providing mobility experiences for Australian undergraduate grant recipients. See Section 3.2 for examples of eligible study options.

The Program will aim to fund an approximate proportion of 70 per cent semester-based places and 30 per cent short term places.

Activities funded in the pilot phase will be formally evaluated to inform development of the ongoing Program.

Funding will support study options of up to two semesters (12 months), short-term (less than 6 months), language study, internships and mentorships in one of the eligible destinations. The study must be for academic credit or be a mandatory part of the course.

1.6 Funding Period

Funding will be provided to universities in 2013-14 for study options in 2014 and semester 1, 2015.

There will be two tranches of applications for funding:

See section 4 for details.

2. Eligibility

2.1 Who is eligible to apply?

2.1.1 Universities

Applications for funding under the NCP will be accepted from Australian universities and consortia of universities only.

An Australian university is defined as an institution listed under Table A or Table B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA).

The consortium must nominate one Australian university as the lead university. That university will be accountable for meeting the legal and reporting requirements on behalf of the consortium.

Individual universities submit applications in their own name, or they may also form part of consortia submitting additional applications.

A decision not to participate in one or both Tranches of the pilot phase will not exclude participation on the full rollout of the NCP, or any other Australian Government administered international grant recipient mobility Programs.

2.1.2 Grant recipients under the Program

Recipients must be:

 3. About the funding

3.1 Available funding

An amount of approximately $4 million will be available for Tranches 1 and 2 in 2013-14. The allocation will aim for a spread across the sector as a whole (including 41 universities and eligible consortia), informed also by eligibility and quality.

At least 90 per cent of the funding is to be provided to grant recipients in the form of direct grants. Universities can access a maximum of 10 per cent of the total funding they receive for the purpose of subsidising costs associated with Program administration, including the Evaluation Reporting requirement. Details of expenditure must be provided in the evaluation report (see Section 8.1 below).

Subsidies to grant recipients must be no less than $1000 and no more than $3000 for short-term study options and no less than $3000 and no more than $7000 for semester study options for each grant recipient. Universities should consider the amount required for each grant recipient in order to encourage participation. They should also encourage students to leverage other available funding such as OS-HELP (where available) when informing grant recipients of available options.

This pilot will allow some flexibility and university discretion in relation to the amounts to be allocated to grant recipients. Grant recipients undertaking the same activity (study option and location) should be funded equally. Differences in grant amounts are permitted between projects to accommodate for differences in study option location, content or to support student grant recipient choice across the target destinations. This element of the Program will be evaluated.

For example:

Students within the same project (that is, the same study option, destination and duration) should be given the same amount of funding assistance. Universities may offer different funding amounts between study options based on factors such as living costs, student demand and travel costs, duration of study etc.

3.1.1 OS-HELP

OS-HELP is a loan available to eligible grant recipients enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place who want to undertake some of their study overseas. OS-HELP can be used for a range of expenses such as airfares, accommodation, and other travel or study expenses. Grant recipients may receive one loan per six-month study period and can access a total of two OS-HELP loans over their lifetime.

Further information on OS-HELP loans is available from http://studyassist.gov.au/sites/StudyAssist/HELPpayingMyFees. Universities should consider how their proposed grants can be complementary and not duplicative of this and other available funding. Note that this will be considered under Selection Criterion 2.

3.2 What can the funding be used for?

The Program provides grants for Australian undergraduate students enrolled at Australian universities to facilitate the students (grant recipients) participating in an international study experience that provides credit or is otherwise a mandatory component of their course.

The Program will support universities to develop innovative study options for grant recipients. The pilot round affords flexibility to universities for this purpose, while ensuring that the funding is used efficiently, effectively and ethically, consistent with the policies of the Commonwealth.

Eligible study options can include:

Additionally, the program must:

3.2.1 Internships / Mentorships

Universities are encouraged to assist grant recipients whose study experiences are for one semester or more in securing internship / mentorship options as part of their study Program.

Note that the ability to provide internships / mentorships is included under Selection Criterion 1 and will be carefully considered when choosing applications for funding.

Further information on internships / mentorships is at Appendix 2.

3.2.2 Language study

The Program is also intended to facilitate the study of Asian languages as part of the study options. Language study, where undertaken, can take place either in Australia prior to departure or while in the host destination. The training must be undertaken in an official Asian language of the host destination in which the grant recipient is participating in an NCP funded activity. Universities are encouraged to include mechanisms for such language study to take place – note that it is also included as a consideration under Selection Criterion 1.

Funding is intended for additional language study, not for study that would otherwise take place as part of the student’s normal course enrolment.

Note that there is no additional grant for language study options and that any costs associated with language study undertaken as part of the project should be considered by universities setting grant amounts for their students within the funding bands outlined above.

3.2.3 Study duration

Universities may design projects incorporating study options of any length, including short study projects or semester-based projects. Whatever its length, the student’s activity must be eligible to attract academic credit or otherwise be a mandatory requirement of the grant recipient’s course. Study options can be offered in the form of group projects or individual travel programs, as long as the other criteria in these guidelines are met.

 4. Application process

The Department of Education will administer the applications, in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. There will be two tranches of applications for funding:

Universities may apply for one or both Tranches. Participation in Tranche 1 is optional and will not preclude a university being approved for funding under a later funding round.

Projects for study options under both Tranches should be designed so that they can be scaled up or down depending on the available funding. They cannot include multiple destinations within the same project.

The process for applying for funding is as follows:

To be successful for funding the study option must be compliant with all criteria. The Department of Education may approve the compliant study options within an application while rejecting non-compliant options in the same application.

Timeline Activity

10 December 2013

Program Guidelines published

Tranche 1 round opens.

11.59pm Australian Eastern Daylight  Time (AEDT) on 23 January 2014

Applications close for Tranche 1

31 January 2014

Funding offers made for Tranche 1

21 February 2014

Tranche 2 round opens

11.59pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) on 21 March 2014

Applications close for Tranche 2

April 2014

Funding offers made for Tranche 2

July/August 2014

31 January 2015

Tranche 1 Evaluation report due

Tranche 2 mid-way evaluation report due

31 July 2015

Tranche 2 final evaluation report due

Completion report for Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 due

4.1 International Student Exchange Online

International Student Exchange Online (ISEO) is the Department of Education’s online application and project management system. This is where universities will apply for Program funding, accept or decline funding offers, evaluate and acquit applications.

An ISEO User Guide is available by emailing student.mobility@education.gov.au.

Each university has a nominated International Liaison Officer (ILO) that submits applications for funding on behalf of the university.

A university or consortium must be registered online via ISEO prior to lodging an application.

4.2 When can applications be made?

Applications can be made in accordance with the above timeline.

4.3 What documents are required in applications?

Applications are to be submitted through the ISEO system. No additional documentation is required to be submitted with the application.

Universities successful in their application for funding will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth. The Funding Agreement comprises a Deed of Standing Offer (DoSO) and a Project Schedule. See section 8.2

5. Selection process

5.1 What are the selection criteria for applications?

Universities will be required to provide evidence demonstrating that they meet each of the following selection criteria. To be successful, the application must be compliant with every criterion. Note that the assessors will be seeking to ensure adequate representation for all pilot destinations when evaluating the applications as a whole.

1. Conformance with Program objectives

This should address relevant points under the Pilot Objectives outlined in Section 1.41 Particular attention should be paid to demonstrating that:

2. Grants will successfully encourage Program participation

Applications should demonstrate how the amounts made available to grant recipients, in conformity with the funding requirements (Section 3), will be offered to grant recipients to complement effective use of other funding sources such as OS-HELP, to cover:

3. Adequate recognition and engagement for grant recipients upon completion of their grant activities

This should outline what credit is to be provided for participation in the project, or how the students’ offshore study is a mandatory component of the course. Universities should also describe any measures they are taking to provide appropriate recognition of Program participation in the student’s academic transcripts or higher education graduation statement.

Any measures to encourage grant recipients to maintain connections with their host universities should also be included.

4. Adequate planning for support strategies and services provided to grant recipients to facilitate their pastoral care and learning outcomes while they are overseas.

This should include details such as comprehensive travel insurance availability, international offices located in the host country, the presence of education agents and induction programs in Australia or overseas,

It should also include a critical incident plan2 to cater for circumstances such as natural disasters, serious incidents or political disturbances.

Universities must provide an assurance that travel will not take place to areas assessed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as an area to which Australians are advised not to travel (Level 4 – Do not travel). In the case that a destination is upgraded to Level 4 status subsequent to funding approval, it is the responsibility of the institution to either seek an alternate destination from the eligible Pilot countries or refund subsidies to the Department of Education.

If a destination is upgraded to Level 4 status while grant recipients are in country, universities must implement critical incident plans.

5.2 Who will assess the applications?

All applications will be assessed by officers from the Department of Education to determine whether or not they are eligible for funding and for initial shortlisting. The assessors will comprise officers with commensurate skills and experience to assess applications. Officers are required to complete an Employee Declaration Statement to cover issues associated with Conflict of Interest. Assessments may be undertaken in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as required.

Compliant applications and an initial shortlist will be provided to a panel comprising senior representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education. The panel will make recommendations on funding allocations with reference to the selection criteria. The Program Delegate will make final determinations on grants with due regard to the panels’ recommendations.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Education will be informed of the panel’s decisions and the universities will be informed in accordance with the above timetable.

6. Roles and responsibilities

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is taking the strategic leadership and setting the policy direction for the New Colombo Plan. The Department of Education is the agency responsible for administering both the mobility and scholarship Program components of the New Colombo Plan.

6.1 How will conflict of interest and bias be managed?

The APS Code of Conduct (section 13(7) of the Public Service Act 1999) requires that APS employees disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with their APS employment. It is also in the interests of all employees that the firms and stakeholders we do engage with are confident that we act in accordance with the Code of Conduct and do not make improper use of information.

There is also obligation under the Public Service Regulations 1999 on APS employees not to disclose any information which is obtained or generated in connection with their employment if it was received in confidence by the Australian Government, under the Crimes Act 1914, it is an offence for an employee to publish or communicate such information.

The Privacy Act 1988 also regulates the collection, use and disclosure and storage of personal information by Australian Government agencies. Employees are required to handle personal information in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act.

Persons involved in the assessment and decision process will be required to disclose any conflicts of interest and comply with the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines.

7. Agreement process for universities

 7.1 How will universities be advised of the outcome of their application?

The Department of Education will advise universities of the outcomes of their applications through ISEO. Successful applications will receive offers of funding in the form of a Project Schedule (see section 8.2 below).

7.2 Offers of funding

Universities successful in their application for funding will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth. The Funding Agreement comprises a Deed of Standing Offer (DoSO) and a Project Schedule. The Funding Agreement will contain an obligation that the university (funding recipient) must comply with these Guidelines, which may be amended by the Department of Education from time to time. To the extent of any inconsistency between the Funding Agreement and the Guidelines, the Funding Agreement will prevail.

The legal framework for provision of funding is based on the following two documents:

If the grant recipient’s study commences commenced before there is a funding agreement executed with the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth is not liable for any expenditure incurred before the date of execution.

If it appears that a university will be unable to acquit its funding according to the funding agreement, they should notify the Department of Education through the student.mobility@education.gov.au address as soon as the situation arises. If necessary, a variation to the agreement may be entered into under Section 8.3.

8. Funding agreement

The funding agreement will detail the university’s responsibilities in ensuring that the study options are conducted according to the agreement and that project outcomes are achieved.

The funding agreement will set out conditions including but not limited to:

8.1 How will the applications be monitored?

Universities will be required to submit to the Department of Education:

Evaluation reports will be submitted through the ISEO system and will outline further details of the study options not submitted with the original application.

During the pilot program, universities should keep records on the following issues, which will form part of the evaluation process:

The Completion Report will require the following:

8.2 How will underperformance be managed?

In the case of underperformance against the funding agreement, remedial action may be undertaken.

This may include:

8.3 How will any variations to the funding agreement be made?

A variation to a funding agreement will be considered by the Department of Education if it:

The onus is on universities to contact the Department of Education to start the project variation process.

8.4 Taxation

Universities are advised to seek their own tax advice before applying for a grant and entering into a written agreement. Applicants can contact the Australian Tax Office call centre to discuss tax issues on 13 28 66.

8.5 What documents about the Project should be retained?

It is a condition of being paid funds under the Program that universities retain all documents and records in relation to the application and the funding agreement for a period of seven years after the completion of the project and that universities provide this information to authorised officers of the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade if requested to do so.

9. How are complaints and feedback handled?

The Australian Government will not accept responsibility for any misunderstanding arising from the failure by a university to comply with these guidelines, or arising from any ambiguity, discrepancy or error contained in an application.

Universities are responsible for all costs incurred in the preparation and lodgement of their applications.

Complaints in relation to the processing of applications should be sent to the Department of Education Program Delegate at: student.mobility@education.gov.au

Appeals against decisions on grant recipient selections will not be considered.

10. Disclosure of information in the application

The use and disclosure of information provided to the Department of Education by universities for the Program is regulated by legislation including the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth), the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth), the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth), as well as the common law.

10.1 Privacy

10.1.1 Treatment of Personal Information collected in Applications

The Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and their staff are required to treat Personal Information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (‘the Privacy Act’), as amended from time to time. The Privacy Act requires the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to inform individuals of the manner and purpose of collection of the Personal Information, any third parties whom the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may disclose the Personal Information to, and to whom and for what purpose that person or body may pass or use the Personal Information.

The Privacy Act also governs and provides limitations on the use and disclosure of an individual’s Personal Information.

10.1.2 Purpose, use and disclosure of Personal Information

Universities should obtain agreement from grant recipients to collect their Personal Information. The agreement should give permission for the university to pass on their Personal Information to the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the purposes of:

The Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may provide Personal Information:

The Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will not otherwise use or disclose the Personal Information for a purpose other than that identified in these Guidelines, except where:

Complaints about breaches of privacy should be referred to the Department of Education Privacy Contact Officer.

By post: Privacy Contact Officer
Legal and Investigations Group
Location C12MT1
Department of Education
GPO Box 9880
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Complaints about breaches of privacy can also be made directly to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

10.2 Confidentiality

10.2.1 Identification of confidential information

Information which satisfies the four criteria listed below will be treated by the Commonwealth as confidential information:

Confidential information also includes information designated by the Commonwealth as confidential or that either party knows or ought to know is confidential. This does not include information that is otherwise in the public domain.

Universities must ensure that they clearly mark information in their application that is confidential and explain why it should be treated as confidential information.

10.2.2 Use of confidential information

Even if information belonging to the university is marked confidential, it may be used by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education and the Commonwealth.

The confidential information will be disclosed to Commonwealth employees and contractors for the purposes of determining the suitability of universities to enhance the reputation of Australia as a New Colombo Plan Mobility grant recipient.

In addition to the above, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education may disclose the confidential information to:

Confidential information may also be disclosed if the Commonwealth is otherwise required or permitted by law to do so (for example in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982), where the consent of the university to the release of information is obtained prior to its disclosure, or where the information enters the public domain due to the actions of someone other than the Commonwealth. Personal information will be handled in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act.

10.3 What information about universities will be announced?

The Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs may publicly announce details of funded projects, including but not limited to:

10.4 Freedom of Information

All documents created or held by the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs with regard to the Program are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Unless a document falls under an exemption provision, or is conditionally exempt and it is not in the public interest to give access to the document, it will, subject to any obligations of third party consultation, be disclosed in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

11. How will the Program be evaluated?

Any information collected as part of the Program can be used by the case management contractor, the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs for performance monitoring and management of the New Colombo Plan.

Information gathered in the pilot Program will be used to identify best practice and inform the future development and scale-up of the New Colombo Plan. Information will also be used to create testimonials for promotional material.

New Colombo Plan grant recipients will be asked to participate in the formal evaluation of the pilot Program, which may involve, for example, participation in focus groups and completion of an exit survey upon completion of their Program. These will be used as an evaluative tool of the student’s experience. It is also an opportunity for a student to share their personal journey. Questions will be reflective of both the Australian Government and the New Colombo Plan Program pilot objectives.

Universities are required to obtain and keep records of consent from grant recipients to ensure their participation in the evaluation of the program to be undertaken by the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, its contractors and agents.

Appendix 1: Definitions of Key Terms

Confidential Information is information which satisfies the four criteria listed at item 11.2.1 of these guidelines or is designated by the Commonwealth as confidential or that either party knows or ought to know is confidential. This does not include information that is otherwise in the public domain.

Consortia means consortia comprised of Australian universities (Tables A and B under the Higher Education Support Act 2003) only.

Personal Information has the same meaning as in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)

Program means the New Colombo Plan Mobility Pilot

Program Delegate means an employee of the Department of Education who has been empowered by the Minister, or otherwise duly authorised, to disperse the funds appropriated for the Program.

Program funding or Program funds means the funding made available by the Commonwealth of Australia for the Program in any given financial year.

In these Guidelines:

Project is an activity that involves one or multiple students going to the same destination for a common study option.

Study Options are activities that provide academic credit or are a mandatory element of the student’s course, and include semester based study of one or two semesters (up to 12 months), Practicums, Clinical placements, internships/mentorships, short term research, short term study and volunteer placements.

University means a supplier listed under Table A or Table B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003, or a consortium of such universities.

Appendix 2: Internships/Mentorships

Grant recipients are strongly encouraged to undertake an internship/mentorship as part of their study option, where possible. For the purpose of the NCP Mobility Program, an internship/mentorship is defined as any placement relating to the recipient’s field of study undertaken outside of their host university.

An internship/mentorship could be with any company, business, government department or agency, not-for-profit organisation or research organisation in the host destination. There are many variations on what the internship/mentorship component might look like. For example, it could be:

The maximum duration of internship/mentorship opportunities under the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program is six months (full-time).

A flexible approach is taken to assist grant recipients in undertaking an internship/mentorship within their study option where it is considered most beneficial. An internship/mentorship may be taken during or after the study component but is not encouraged to be undertaken prior to the study component. The internship/mentorship period may be undertaken with more than one host organisation (all host organisations must be within the host destination of the study component).

If an internship/mentorship is to be undertaken after the study component, grant recipients are encouraged to allow less than one month between the completion of the study component and the commencement of the internship/mentorship.

Please note that is it the recipient’s responsibility to ensure they have appropriate visas at all stages of their time in the host destination.

Arranging the Internship/Mentorship and Approval Process

It is the grant recipient’s responsibility to arrange and confirm the internship / mentorship. The recipient will be supported in this by their home university.

Arranging credit for the internship / mentorship component of the scholarship

In partnership with their Australian university, grant recipients are encouraged to seek credit for the internship / mentorship and for it to be recognised as an integral component of a NCP experience