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

Scholarship Program

Scholarship FAQ

1. Who is eligible for a scholarship under the NCP Pilot Program?

New Colombo Plan Scholarships (pilot program) provide opportunities for Australian undergraduates to undertake study and an internship/mentorship in one of four eligible pilot destinations: Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. At the commencement of their scholarship, scholars must be in at least the second year of their degree; be between 18 and 28 years of age; and undertaking a Bachelor’s degree level program (Pass or Honours).

Scholars must undertake a study program for which they will receive credit at their home university. The study component of the scholarship is mandatory and must be for at least one semester, but may be up to two semesters (a full academic year) in duration. For information on the status of a proposed study program, applicants should seek advice in the first instance from their nominated course convenor or from the New Colombo Plan Liaison Officer or international office in their university. Further information is available in the NCP Scholarship Guidelines.

2. What can I study as part of my scholarship program?

There are no limitations on the type of study a scholar may take as part of their award, as long as they are eligible to receive credit as part of their undergraduate degree at their Australian university.

3. What support is available to NCP scholars for foreign language tuition?

All Scholars are eligible for support to undertake intensive language training as part of their scholarship. The training must be in a language that is applicable to the destination in which the Scholar is completing their program, and be undertaken in-country.

4. When does the New Colombo Plan Scholarships Program open for applications?

Australian universities will be requested to conduct an internal selection process and nominate students for the program in February 2014.

Nominees’ complete applications, including referee reports and supporting documentation, must be submitted by 11.59pm AEDT on 28 March 2014.

5. What is the application process? Updated 10 February 2014

For the pilot phase of the New Colombo Plan students must be nominated by their Australian university. Universities have been asked to conduct an internal nomination process to select five nominees. It is recommended that eligible Australian undergraduates who are interested in applying for a New Colombo Plan scholarship, and feel they have strong claims against the selection criteria, contact the NCP Liaison Officer or the international office in their university. More information on the application process and deadlines is included in the Scholarship Program Guidelines.

6. How will scholarship applications be assessed?

Scholarship applicants will be assessed and ranked against the selection criteria set out in the Scholarship Program Guidelines (pilot program). Initial short-listing will be undertaken by a panel comprising representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education. All shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by an interview panel comprised of government officials, academics and members of the business community, as set out in the Scholarship Program Guidelines (pilot).

7. When can I commence my New Colombo Plan Scholarship?

Successful applicants must commence their study program between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015.

8. How many NCP scholarships will be offered and what academic results will the panel be looking for?

Approximately 40 scholarships will be awarded in the pilot round of the New Colombo Plan. It is suggested in the program guidelines that a suitable candidate should have at least a 70 per cent graded average or equivalent for their undergraduate course to date.

9. Are previous recipients of the Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Award still eligible for a NCP scholarship?

The program guidelines do not preclude a previous Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Award recipient from also receiving a NCP scholarship. It is recommended that contact should be made with the universities NCP Liaison Officer, or their international office, to clarify the selection process and individual eligibility requirements.

10. Can I apply for a NCP Scholarships if I have already commenced by study in the host country or plan to commence this study prior to 1 July 2014? Updated 10 February 2014

Successful applicants must commence their study program between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015. Applicants who have already commenced or will commence their program prior to 1 July 2014 are ineligible to apply.

11. I have completed a calendar year of study but am not yet in the second year of my academic program. Am I eligible for a NCP scholarship?

To be eligible for the New Colombo Plan students must have completed one full-year of their academic program.

12. Am I eligible for a NCP scholarship if I am part way through a degree but not currently enrolled in a course of study? Updated 27 March 2014

To be eligible to apply for an NCP scholarship the applicant must be enrolled in an undergraduate course of study with an Australian university at the commencement of the scholarship. Pass degree-level applicants must be in at least the second year of their program at the commencement of the scholarship.

13. Am I eligible for a NCP scholarship if I am studying part time? Added 10 February 2014

Students who are studying part time in Australia are eligible to apply for a NCP scholarship, as long as they have completed one full academic year of study and are in accordance with other NCP eligibility requirements. NCP scholars must however undertake a full time study program while overseas.

14. Can I receive a NCP scholarship if I plan to study with a college, university college, or a third party provider? Added 10 February 2014

The NCP scholarship program has no restrictions on the type of organisations and institutions an Australian university may partner with however scholars must undertake a study program for which they will receive credit at their home university. In addition, study options may not be undertaken at an offshore campus of an Australian university in the host destination.

15. Can New Colombo Plan Scholars study at two institutions in the same pilot destination?Added 19 March 2014

Yes, provided that:

  • all New Colombo Plan Scholarship eligibility and process requirements are met for study at both institutions (evidence of host affiliation etc)
  • scholars receive academic credit at their home university for study undertaken at both host institutions.

The scholarship benefit limits set out in the Scholarship Program Guidelines will not be impacted by multi-institution study i.e. scholars who meet the above criteria will receive the monthly stipend over the agreed period of their study, and other benefits will be provided once only.

16. Am I eligible for NCP funding support for study past the 30 June 2015? Added 10 February 2014

Successful applicants can commence their program any time between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015. Scholars will then be funded for the entire length of their program including up to two semesters of study and optional components such as an internship/mentorship (up to 6 months), or intensive Asian language training (up to 1 month). However, funding will not exceed the total amount offered for various scholarship benefits (see the Scholarships Program Guidelines section 3).

17. Am I eligible for the NCP scholarship 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.

18. If I undertake a Study Abroad program, I will no longer be enrolled at my home institution while overseas. Am I still eligible for an NCP Scholarship? Added 21 February 2014

For the purposes of the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program, a successful applicant who takes a leave of absence to undertake their approved study abroad and internship program, for which they will receive credit at their home university, will be considered to have met the enrolment requirements throughout their scholarship.

19. What evidence of affiliation with the host university do I need to provide as part of my application? Added 21 February 2014

The purpose of the affiliation request is for applicants to demonstrate that they have considered a program and institution with which they would like to study in one of the pilot destinations, should they be successful in obtaining an NCP scholarship, and that they have begun the process of determining their eligibility with that proposed host institution.

For example, the evidence could be an email from the applicant or the applicant’s Australian university to the proposed host institution indicating the student is in the process of applying for an NCP scholarship and, if successful, they would be seeking to enroll and undertake a study program with that proposed host institution.

20. Am I eligible for a NCP scholarship if I am enrolled in a graduate-entry Bachelor degree program? Added 21 February 2014

For the purposes of the NCP pilot phase, graduate-entry Bachelor degree programs are classified as ‘undergraduate’ (i.e. MBBS) and students undertaking these programs are eligible for NCP scholarships.  Students undertaking Postgraduate degree programs (such as MD, JD or similar programs) are not eligible for NCP scholarships.

21. Will a New Colombo Plan Scholar be required to pay fees to their host/home university? Added 21 February 2014

The NCP scholarship includes international tuition/university fees, if applicable, and to a maximum of AU$15,000 for two semesters of study. If the study abroad is under the auspices of an exchange program and the host university does not charge tuition fees, the allocation will not be provided to the scholarship holder. The scholarship holder may not use their international tuition/university fees allocation to pay for fees charged by their home university. That is, a scholar may still be liable for HECS-HELP if on exchange.

22. 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.


Scholarship Program guidelines

1. Program Overview

 1.1 Purpose of these Guidelines

The purpose of these Guidelines is to outline the process for selecting a group of Australian undergraduate scholars for the pilot of the New Colombo Plan Scholarship 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 work placement undertaken by Australian undergraduate students 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 students, 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:

  • Lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific region in Australia and strengthen our people-to-people and institutional relationships by increasing the number of Australian undergraduate students undertaking study and internships in the region.
  • Deepen Australia’s relationships with the region through the engagement of university, business and other stakeholder networks in supporting the program and ensuring such experiences are highly valued across the Australian community.
  • Be transformational in establishing study in the Indo Pacific region to become a “rite of passage” for Australian undergraduate students, and increase the number of ‘Asia-capable’ and work-ready Australian graduates.

Specifically, the pilot program aims to:

  • Select and support approximately 40 scholarships and AU$4 million in mobility grants to Australian universities across the four pilot destinations of Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong that meet the New Colombo Plan objectives.
  • Identify, support and promote innovative mobility programs that explore new ideas in engaging and providing opportunities for Australian undergraduate students in the Indo Pacific, with the capacity to assist in scaling up to meet the NCP objectives.
  • Promote and support initiatives that identify internships / mentorships for scholarship students at the pilot destinations and provide a range of models and best practice for other destinations.
  • Establish bilateral support for the program by pilot destinations that facilitates pilot phase study and internship arrangements and supports engagement with the New Colombo Plan by the wider Indo Pacific region.
  • Develop an alumni community that engages student participants and provides the opportunity for them to share their experiences, promote the New Colombo Plan and continue to develop knowledge of and professional links with the Indo Pacific region.
  • Evaluate the pilot program to identify best practice and inform the future development and scale-up of the New Colombo Plan.

 1.4 The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program Pilot

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program (pilot phase) provides opportunities for Australian undergraduates, between 18 and 28 years of age, to undertake study and an internship/mentorship in one of four eligible destinations: Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Scholars must be in at least the second year of their degree at the commencement of their scholarship.

Scholars must undertake a study program for which they will receive credit at their home university. The study component of the scholarship is mandatory and must be for at least one semester, but may be up to two semesters in duration. For information on the status of a proposed study program, applicants should seek advice in the first instance from their nominated course convenor or from the New Colombo Plan Liaison Officer or international office in their university.

An internship/mentorship component is strongly encouraged, where possible. The maximum duration of internship/mentorship opportunities is six months. For further detail see Appendix 2 – Internships/Mentorships.

All Scholars are eligible for support to undertake intensive Asian language training as part of their scholarship. The training must be in a language that is applicable to the destination in which the Scholar is completing their program, and be undertaken in-country. In addition to a training allowance, a maximum of one month of stipend will be provided for this training, if the training is not taken concurrently with either the study program or an internship/mentorship component.

In the year following their return to Australia, all Scholars will be required to participate in activities that share the experiences of their program with other New Colombo Plan scholars and their community. The activities will aim to identify and foster potential New Colombo Plan scholars and advocate for the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program. Scholars will also be required to complete evaluation reports and/or presentations, and an exit survey.

2. Eligibility

2.1 Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must be:

  • An Australian citizen. Applicants with dual citizenship are eligible, however they must undertake their scholarship in a third country, of which they are not a citizen;
  • Enrolled in an Australian university at the time of application and throughout their scholarship. 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 scholarship program; and
  • Undertaking a Bachelor’s degree level program (Pass or Honours) onshore at an Australian university campus at the commencement of the scholarship. Pass degree-level applicants must be in at least the second year of their program at the commencement of the scholarship.

Additionally, the applicant’s proposed scholarship program must:

  • Be undertaken in one of the four pilot destinations: Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong;
  • Not be undertaken at an offshore campus of an Australian university in the host destination;
  • Not be undertaken at a host institution in a region with a travel advice classification of Level 4 by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and
  • Commence between 1 July 2014 and before 30 June 2015.

3. Scholarship Benefits

3.1 Funding

New Colombo Plan Scholars can receive up to a maximum of AU$67,000.

3.2 Benefits

The scholarship will consist of:

  • travel allowance – up to $2,500
  • establishment allowance – up to $2,500
  • monthly stipend (for study and internship/mentorship) – up to $2,500 per month
  • tuition fees – up to $15,000
  • Asian language training allowance (if applicable) – up to $1,000
  • Australian community engagement/advocacy payment – $1,000
  • health and travel insurance for the duration of the Scholar’s program
  • Certificate of Completion

Scholars also will have a dedicated case manager for the duration of the scholarship.

3.3 New Colombo Plan Fellows

For each pilot destination, the top-ranked candidate will be acknowledged as a New Colombo Plan Fellow. Preference may be given to candidates undertaking a study period of two semesters in-country.

4. Other requirements

4.1 Nomination

In the pilot round, each Australian university will be asked to nominate up to five students to apply for the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program.

Universities may wish to consider a threshold selection criterion for all their potential nominees of a graded average of 70 per cent or equivalent, as academic performance is a key selection criteria for the scholarship. University selection processes should also take into consideration all other selection criteria, as they are the measures that nominated applicants will be assessed against in the national selection process. Universities will be provided with a copy of the application form as the basis for their internal selection process.

Eligible Australian undergraduates who are interested in applying for a New Colombo Plan Scholarship and feel they have strong claims against the selection criteria should contact the New Colombo Plan Liaison Officer or the international office in their university.

List of Liaison Officers

5. Application process

The table below summarises key dates and steps for the application process:

Timeline

Activity

1 Feb – 28 Feb 2014

Australian universities nominate applicants

3 Mar – 28 Mar 2014

Nominated applicants receive application pack, including application form via email, complete application and gather supporting documentation

11.59pm Australian Eastern Daylight  Time (AEDT) on 28 March 2014

Applications close

April 2014

Applications are shortlisted

May 2014

Shortlisted applicants are notified

May 2014

Shortlisted applicants are interviewed

June 2014

Selections are finalised and Minister(s) are notified of selection outcomes

June 2014

All successful and unsuccessful applicants are emailed regarding the outcome of their application

July 2014 – June 2015

Successful Scholars leave for their program

5.1 When can applications be made?

The Australian Government Department of Education will send nominated applicants an application pack. Applications must be submitted between 3 and 28 March 2014.

It is the nominated applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their completed application and supporting documentation, including referee reports, are submitted by the closing date. Applicants must meet all costs associated with the preparation and lodgement of their application. Any applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

5.2 What documents are required in applications?

The following documentation is required to be submitted by applicants, in addition to a completed application form:

  • evidence of Australian citizenship (birth certificate, current passport or citizenship certificate);
  • evidence of current enrolment at an Australian university;
  • a current official academic transcript from an Australian university;
  • two referee reports, with at least one academic referee, and
  • evidence of affiliation with their host institution.

Applicants do not require evidence of acceptance at their host university at the time of application. However, at the time of submitting their application, applicants must provide at least one of the following pieces of documentation confirming their affiliation with their host institution:

  • evidence of communication with the host in the form of a letter (on university letterhead) or email; or
  • a letter from the applicant’s home university detailing partnership arrangements between the home and host institution to allow for commencement between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015 (must be on the university’s letterhead).

Evidence of acceptance at the host university must be provided by successful applicants, prior to formally accepting their scholarship. Evidence of acceptance at a host university could be in the form of:

  • an acceptance letter or email from the host university to the applicant confirming enrolment
  • an acceptance letter or email from the host university to the home university confirming enrolment
  • a letter from the home university to the applicant confirming that the placement of the host university has been agreed.
  • applicants should liaise with their university’s New Colombo Plan Liaison Officer or international office to obtain this evidence.
  • the application form requires applicants to provide details of their proposed scholarship program, both the study and internship/mentorship component (if applicable) and the pilot destination in which they intend to complete their scholarship. The application form also requires applicants to respond to three selection criteria (see section 6.1 below).

5.3 Where should applications be sent?

The Department of Education will provide nominees an application pack via email. The pack includes the application form and instructions on how to complete and submit (via email) the application and the required supporting documentation.

6. Selection process

The Department of Education will administer the applications, in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Following the nomination of applicants by home universities, New Colombo Plan Scholars will be selected through a competitive, merit-based selection process.

All applications submitted by the closing date will be subject to eligibility checks. A shortlisting panel will assess all eligible applications received. Shortlisted applicants will be advised in April 2014 and a face-to-face interview with an interview panel will be scheduled during May 2014 in Canberra. An interview panel will be convened for each pilot destination.

The travel and accommodation costs associated with attending an interview in Canberra will be covered by the New Colombo Plan.

6.1 What are the selection criteria for applications?

The following are the selection criteria against which applicants will be assessed, including their relative weighting. Applicants should address each criterion and limit their responses to 300 words per criterion. Applicants should use the guidance in the square brackets to draft their response to each criterion.

  • Demonstrated academic excellence (70 per cent weighting)

    [A 70 per cent graded average or equivalent for your undergraduate course to date. Applicants may also consider detailing academic awards at the tertiary level and/or university commendations.]

  • Demonstrated leadership in the local community (15 per cent weighting)

    [Applicants may consider including roles and/or activities in their university (for example: student residence committees; student clubs; or politics), their local community (for example: sporting; not-for-profit; religious; or arts organisations), or overseas (for example: volunteering; or not-for-profit work).]

  • The applicant describes how this experience enhances their cultural awareness, employment potential and their ability to operate in new and changing environments (15 per cent weighting)

    [Applicants may consider including how their resilience, flexibility and adaptability (particularly in different cultural contexts) will be enhanced and how they will develop relationships in the region and maintain them on their return].

6.2 Who will assess the applications?

The short-listing panel will comprise representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education.

The composition of the interview panels will be established by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education, and will comprise government officials, academics and members of the business community.

7. 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.

Each Australian university will be responsible for identifying and nominating five scholarship applicants, and for assisting applicants in obtaining the required evidence of affiliation with their host institutions.

The interview panels will make recommendations on applicants with reference to the selection criteria. The Program Delegate will make final determinations on Scholars with due regard to the panels’ recommendations.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Education will be advised of successful applicants prior to notification of successful and unsuccessful applicants.

7.1 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 stakeholders with whom we engage are confident that we act in accordance with the Code of Conduct and do not make improper use of information.

There is also an 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 and, 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.

8. Agreement process for successful applicants

8.1 How will applicants be advised of the outcome of their application?

The Department of Education will email all successful and unsuccessful applicants regarding the outcome of their applications by the end of June 2014.

Individual feedback on why an application was unsuccessful will not be provided.

8.2 Offer of Scholarship

Applicants who are offered a New Colombo Plan Scholarship must agree to the terms and conditions of their scholarship and accept their scholarship online within seven days of the offer. Those applicants who are offered a scholarship must be able to satisfy all the visa requirements of the country in which they wish to undertake their program.

All Scholars will be required to undergo a police check before their scholarship is confirmed. It is an important consideration of the Australian Government that a Scholar is a suitable person who will enhance the reputation of Australia and the New Colombo Plan Scholarship overseas. A criminal record will not automatically disqualify an applicant from receiving a scholarship. However, if a successful applicant is found to have a criminal record or conviction which the department considers would harm the reputation of the New Colombo Plan Scholarship, then the Department of Education may, in its absolute discretion, refuse to grant or revoke a scholarship.

After satisfying a police check, successful applicants will be allocated by the Department of Education a Case Management Contractor, contracted by the Department of Education to manage support services for Scholars. Successful applicants will be required to enter into an award agreement with the case management contractor governing the provision of funding for, and the conduct and management of, the scholarship, before any funding can be paid. If the scholarship program is commenced before there is an award agreement executed, the Commonwealth is not liable for any expenditure incurred before the date of execution.

9. Award agreement

The award agreement will detail the successful applicant’s responsibilities in ensuring that the scholarship program is conducted according to the agreement and that outcomes are achieved.

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

  • payment of entitlements
  • pre-departure advice and assistance
  • arrival in host destination
  • assistance with arrangement of return flights
  • travel and health insurance
  • approval and confirmation of internships/mentorships
  • minimum monthly contact
  • Australian community engagement/advocacy, and
  • requests to vary scholarship program arrangements.

9.1 How will the Project be monitored?

Scholars will be required to undertake monthly contact with their case manager throughout their scholarship period. Scholars also will be required to report on their Australian community engagement/advocacy, and complete evaluation reports and/or presentations, and an exit survey, and participate in focus groups.

9.2 How will underperformance be managed?

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

This may include:

  • consultation and negotiation with the Scholar, case manager, host institution and home institution;
  • deferral and/or staging of scheduled payments;
  • recovery of funds already paid; and
  • referral to proper authorities of investigation of any improper use of scholarship funds.

9.3 How will any variations to the award agreement be made?

A variation to an award agreement will only be considered if it:

  • is consistent with the program’s objectives; and
  • is appropriate in all circumstances.

9.4 Taxation

Scholarship funds provided to Scholars are to be treated as exempt from income tax as per section 51.10, 2.1A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

9.5 What documents about the Program should be retained?

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

10. How are complaints and feedback handled?

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

Applicants 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 Program Delegate at: ncp.scholarships@education.gov.au

Appeals against decisions on the selection of Scholars will not be considered.

11. Disclosure of information in the application

The use and disclosure of information provided to the Department of Education and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by applicants 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.

11.1 Privacy

11.1.1 Treatment of Personal Information collected in Applications

The Department of Education and 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 or 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.

11.1.2 Purpose, use and disclosure of Personal Information

The Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will collect Personal Information from applicants to identify applicants and so that the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can contact applicants to inform them of the outcomes of their application.

The Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will use any Personal Information supplied as part of the application process only for the purposes of:

  • administering the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program;
  • assessing applications;
  • promoting the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program, including promotional material, information and publications in hardcopy and/or on the internet; and
  • to congratulate successful Scholars and/or invite the successful Scholars to functions and events held in Australia and overseas.

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

  • to Australian Government departments and agencies;
  • to Australian Parliamentary members and committees;
  • to the department’s contractors and agents;
  • to universities; and
  • in publicly available promotional material, information and publications in hardcopy and/or on the internet.

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:

  • the individual is reasonably likely to have been aware or made aware that information of that kind is usually passed to that person, body or agency;
  • the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have the person’s consent to use the information for that other purpose;
  • the use of the information for another purpose is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of an individual;
  • use of the information is authorised or required by law, or is necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law or of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of the public revenue; or
  • the purpose for which the information is used is directly related to the purpose for which the information was obtained.

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).

11.2 Confidentiality

11.2.1  Identification of confidential information

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

  • the information to be protected has been clearly identified by the applicant;
  • the information is commercially sensitive;
  • the disclosure of the information would cause unreasonable detriment to the applicant or another party; and
  • the information was provided by the applicant under an understanding that it would remain confidential.

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.

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

11.2.2 Use of confidential information

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

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

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

  • the Auditor-General, Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner;
  • the responsible Minister;
  • a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia;
  • a third party contractor engaged by the Commonwealth for audit-related purposes;
  • other Commonwealth agencies for law enforcement purposes, where the disclosure will serve the Commonwealth’s legitimate interests and, if necessary, to substantiate an applicant’s claims; or
  • a technical, financial, economic and/or industry expert (including auditors) from whom the Department of Education wishes to seek advice.

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 applicant 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.

11.3 What information about successful applicants will be announced?

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

  • the names of successful applicants and their Australian (home) university and host destination university;
  • a brief description of study areas and internships/mentorships being supported through scholarships; and
  • the amount of funding awarded.

11.4 Freedom of Information

All documents created or held by the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 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.

12 How will the Program be evaluated?

Any information collected as part of the program can be used by the case management contractor and the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 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 Scholars 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 Scholar’s experience. It is also an opportunity for a Scholar to share their personal journey. Questions will be reflective of both the Australian Government and the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program pilot objectives.

Appendix 1: Definitions of Key Terms

Case Management Contractor means a third party provider contracted by the Department of Education to manage support services for Scholars.

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.

Department of Foreign Affairs Level 4 region means a region classified by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a ‘Do Not Travel’ region (see www.smartraveller.gov.au)

Eligible Destinations means Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Home University means the means the Australian university in which the Scholar is enrolled at the time of application and throughout their scholarship. An Australian university is defined as a supplier listed under Table A or Table B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

Host Destination means one of the four eligible destinations to which the Scholar will travel to undertake their scholarship program.

Host University means the university the Scholar will attend for study in the host destination.

Ministers means the Australian Government Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Australian Government Minister for Education.

Official academic transcript means the list of subjects and academic results provided to the applicant by their Australian university, usually at the end of each semester, trimester or term.

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

Program means the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program (pilot phase)

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.

Scholar means a successful applicant who receives a New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

Scholarship program means the study and internship/mentorship activities applicants propose in their application for a New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

Bachelor’s degree level program means undergraduate studies at a Bachelor’s Pass or Honours level.

In these Guidelines:

  • 'may' is permissive and not mandatory;
  • a reference to the singular includes the plural and vice versa; and
  • if a word or phrase is defined its other grammatical forms have corresponding meanings.

Appendix 2: Internships/Mentorships

Scholars are strongly encouraged to undertake an internship/mentorship as part of their scholarship, where possible. For the purpose of the New Colombo Scholarship Program, an internship/mentorship is defined as any placement relating to the Scholar’s field of study undertaken outside of their host university.

  • An Internship is a carefully monitored work or volunteer experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience. Internships offer students the chance to test their skills in real-life situations, explore career options and gain an insight into an organisation or career path.
  • A Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person, relevant to work, career, or professional development. Mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help, it is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue, and challenge.

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:

  • an unpaid position with a local company or business, government agency or non-government organisation; or
  • a position with an agency or organisation in the host destination with which the Scholar’s Australian university has, or seeks to develop, links.

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

A flexible approach is taken to assist scholars in undertaking an internship/mentorship within their scholarship 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, scholars 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 Scholar’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 Scholar’s responsibility to arrange and confirm the internship/mentorship. The Scholar will be supported in this by their home university, their host university and the case management contractor.

Applicants are not required to have an internship/mentorship confirmed at the time of application and will not be disadvantaged in the selection process if a placement is not yet confirmed. However, applicants are encouraged to indicate in their application their proposed plans, any possible host organisations and the way in which their plans will build their international professional experience in their field and professional networks in Asia.

To have their internship/mentorship approved, applicants must complete the Internship/Mentorship Approval Form and forward it to the case management contractor for approval no later than one month prior to the beginning of the internship/mentorship.

The Scholar undertaking the internship/mentorship will need to contact the relevant authority in the host destination to determine whether they are entitled to work and to obtain information about visas. However, the case manager will facilitate the Scholar in this endeavour. It should be noted that the Scholar may be required to change visas when transitioning from study to the internship/mentorship component of their scholarship.

Arranging credit for the work placement component of the scholarship

In partnership with their Australian university, students are encouraged to seek credit for the internship/mentorship and for it to be recognised as an integral component of a New Colombo Plan experience.

Scholarship Forms

Scholarship forms are provided here for information only. Writable nomination forms have been provided to universities. The Department of Education will provide nominees an application pack via email.