Financial assistance for students and staff

03 Aug 2021
Financial assistance for students and staff

UNSW is providing financial assistance for students and staff who are in need of additional support. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, UNSW has distributed over $5 million in emergency funds to support students and staff in need. We continue to do what we can to support those in our community facing significant hardship at this time. We have allocated a further $5 million to help. 

Currently there are two schemes that can assist: 

COVID-19 financial support grants for students 

With Greater Sydney communities facing stay-at-home orders, we understand that many students may have lost their part-time work and may be experiencing significant financial hardship. In response, UNSW will be providing COVID-19 financial grants for eligible students. 

To be eligible students must: 

  • have experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 situation 
  • be currently living in Australia 
  • be currently enrolled at UNSW 

Applications are open until 11.59pm, Sunday, 8 August 2021. Application outcomes will be released between 9-20 August 2021.  

For more information, visit COVID-19 Financial Support Grants | UNSW Current Students 

With the support of the Student Representative Council (SRC), the University has been facilitating crisis accommodation for students who have found themselves in unstable housing over the last term. A program, offering a low-cost shared apartment style accommodation just off campus (1 Cowper Street) is available for eligible students. Students can make an appointment with a Student Support Advisor to discuss.  

Staff Hardship Fund 

UNSW is committed to supporting staff who are facing challenging personal circumstances and uncertainty. As well as the emotional and health impacts of the pandemic, we are aware that it has also impacted the financial wellbeing of some of our colleagues at UNSW.  

We have established a dedicated Staff Hardship Fund for staff who are facing financial hardship and may require unexpected and emergency financial support. The fund provides needs-based financial support to those in critical need. 

Financial assistance can be granted, up to a maximum of $2500 per applicant, to assist with immediate and essential expenses. The amount granted is based on the applicant’s demonstrated need, the nature of the financial hardship, and the available balance of the Fund. The financial assistance does not need to be repaid. 

Additionally, all UNSW staff facing financial stress can seek independent and confidential advice through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Benestar. The service’s expert counsellors can provide support for those facing financial worries. Please just remember to highlight this as your primary area of concern when making an appointment, so EAP can connect you with the right support. 

Visit EAP (Benestar) | Wellbeing ( for more information. 

A reminder about federal government support 

The federal government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available to eligible workers, including casual workers, aged over 17 years old. The available weekly payments are as follows: 

  • If you have lost less than 20 hours of work, you will receive $450 per week of lockdown 

  • If you have lost 20 hours or more of work, you will receive $750 per week of lockdown. 

From Tuesday 3 August, if you are already receiving a Centrelink payment you may be eligible to apply for a COVID-19 Disaster Payment of $200 per week in addition to your usual Centrelink benefit, if you have lost eight hours or more of work per week. 

Full details, eligibility criteria and how to apply are on the Services Australia website.