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Scholarships and Prizes Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘the University’, ‘CDU’) seeks to provide opportunities to students through the awarding of scholarships and prizes, and is committed to fostering the support of external donors for funding to maximise scholarship and prize opportunities for its students. Scholarships and prizes foster links between the University, its students and the wider community and provide an opportunity for the celebration of educational achievement.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This policy outlines the principles for establishing and administering scholarships and prizes to domestic and international applicants.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This policy applies to domestic and international applicants and currently enrolled students in award courses in Vocational Education and Training (VET) or Higher Education (HE) at CDU. 

  1. Higher Degree by Research candidates are eligible for some Donor Funded Scholarships under this policy, and should also refer to the Higher Degree by Research - Research Training Program Scholarship Policy and Procedure.
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Section 4 - Policy

(4) Charles Darwin University establishes and administers scholarships to attract, retain, support and provide financial assistance to a diverse range of students in pursuit of their academic endeavours and in recognition of educational achievement.

(5) With the support of the wider community, we offer scholarships and prizes in recognition of:

  1. academic excellence;
  2. community leadership and engagement;
  3. the upholding of ethical behaviour; and
  4. in support of equity of access.

(6) The University will establish and award scholarships and prizes to ensure:

  1. inclusivity and diversity of applicants, and providing access to education irrespective of an applicant’s personal or systemic factors that can cause educational disadvantage;
  2. transparency of the eligibility and selection criteria against which applicants are assessed and ranked; and
  3. consistent assessment of applications, where decisions are merit based and made in an objective manner.

Establishment of scholarships and prizes

(7) The University seeks to establish a range of scholarships and prizes that are aligned to the University’s strategic priorities and take into account a donor's requirements. In doing so, the University will foster relationships with donors and proactively seek funds to support the provision and maintenance of a wide range of scholarships and prizes for students.

(8) Scholarships are established for a minimum of one (1) semester, up to a maximum duration of a full course of study.

  1. Scholarships must be equal to or greater than:
    1. $5,000 per student per year for Higher Education (HE) Scholarships; and
    2. $2,500 per student per year for Vocational Education and Training (VET) scholarships.
  2. The University reserves the to right to alter the conditions surrounding minimum Donation amounts for HE and VET scholarships if it is of strategic interest to the University. Donors who wish to donate less than the minimum value for a HE or VET scholarship can contact CDU Advancement to discuss alternative avenues of support.

(9) Endowed scholarships may be established by a donor with a minimum value of $125,000, with the intention to invest it to yield additional revenue and increase the capacity for support. Both endowment revenue and the principal asset may be directed by the donor for the funding of scholarships.

  1. The minimum scholarship amount will be reviewed periodically based on annual indexing. If an endowed fund can no longer sustain the minimum scholarship amount, CDU will reserve the right to either draw down on the capital of the fund to ensure the scholarship remains relevant - or suspend the awarding of a scholarship until the interest accumulates to meet the minimum scholarship requirement.

(10) Prizes (including an award or bursary) are generally a once off amount of money and/or other benefit in recognition of student achievement.

  1. There is no minimum value on prizes.

(11) The University will apply a standard naming convention to donor-funded scholarships and prizes, including acknowledging memorial or tribute scholarships where relevant, and accommodating a donor's decision to remain anonymous.

(12) The University is responsible for final decisions in awarding scholarships and prizes.


(13) Scholarships and prizes may be funded by the University or by donors.

  1. Where the donor is an individual, private business, industry group, agency or professional accreditation body, the scholarship or prize will be subject to an online authorisation, or a signed contract or agreement with the University, and will be administered according to the requirements specified in that agreement.
  2. Where the donor is a Federal or Territory Government Department, the scholarship or prize will be administered according to the requirements specified in the relevant legislation or regulation as applicable.

Terms and conditions

(14) The University, in partnership with a donor where applicable, will determine the terms and conditions of a scholarship or prize. Unless otherwise agreed in a contract or agreement.

(15) The terms and conditions for a scholarship must specify at minimum:

  1. eligibility and selection criteria, including any ongoing eligibility requirements;
  2. duration and total value of the scholarship;
  3. the payment schedule; and
  4. the circumstances in which the award may be terminated prematurely.

(16) The terms and conditions for a prize must specify at minimum:

  1. eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. type of prize to be awarded; and
  3. total value and the payment method, if the prize has a monetary value.

(17) The selection criteria will set clear standards and benchmarks against which eligible students can be ranked.

Selection and awarding of scholarships

(18) The University advertises and publishes information on all scholarships annually on the University website and in relevant publications.

  1. Wherever possible, scholarships application rounds will be aligned with teaching periods.

(19) Applicants must apply for scholarships and meet relevant eligibility criteria.

  1. Scholarship applications will not be accepted after the closing date.
  2. Applicants must be eligible for the scholarship by the closing date.

(20) A student may be awarded any number of prizes and hold up to two (2) scholarships at a time, unless otherwise stated in a scholarship’s terms and conditions.

  1. If one (1) of the two (2) scholarships that a student holds expires, a student can apply for another scholarship.
  2. First Nations Commonwealth Supported Scholarships do not count towards the maximum number of scholarships that a student can hold.

Assessment of applicants

(21) Eligible scholarship applicants will be assessed against the selection criteria by a Scholarship Selection Panel. 

  1. Membership of the selection panel will be provided to applicants on request.
  2. The Scholarship Selection Panel members may individually assess the applicants, and/or meet to discuss the selection and ranking.
  3. Donors of scholarships with a compulsory period of paid work or work placement, or with a minimum value of $15,000, may have the option to participate in the selection process, as determined in the scholarship agreement.

(22) The Scholarship Selection Panel will use a scoring system to rank the applicants and will offer the scholarship to applicants in order of rank.

  1. Where there are very few eligible applicants for a scholarship where the donor is participating in the selection process, the donor may be given the opportunity to solely select the successful recipient/s.
  2. Where there are no applicants, or very few applicants who meet the eligibility criteria, the University may, in consultation with the donor (where applicable), review and amend the terms and conditions to broaden the application pool.
  3. Where a scholarship cannot be awarded in one teaching period, it may be offered in a subsequent teaching period.
  4. If a scholarship cannot be awarded for four (4) consecutive application periods, despite broadening application potential, the donor will be consulted on the redirection of residual funds to an area of the University that best supports the original intent of the scholarship.
  5. Awarding of scholarships is based on the eligible applicants’ response to selection criteria and interview, if applicable. The decision of awarding the successful recipient is at the sole discretion of the Selection Panel and is final and cannot be overturned.

Notification and acceptance of scholarship recipients

(23) Successful scholarships applicants will be notified in writing within ten (10) working days of the decision.

(24) To accept the scholarship, the applicant must accept the Scholarship Agreement eForm acknowledging the Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

  1. If for any reason the successful applicant is unable to accept the offer of the scholarship by the due date, the offer will be given to the next highest ranked applicant

(25) The University will advise donors of the successful recipient/s.

(26) Unsuccessful scholarship applicants will be notified in writing within 15 working days of the decision.


(27) Scholarship recipients will be required to continue to meet the relevant Terms and Conditions (e.g., enrolment requirements) to be eligible for payment.

  1. In exceptional circumstances, a recipient who has full time enrolment as a condition of their scholarship can apply to the Scholarship Officer to decrease their enrolment to part-time. Where the part-time enrolment is approved, the student will continue to receive full payment, until the full scholarship has been expended. Where the part-time enrolment is not approved, payment will be suspended.

(28) Scholarship recipients who are entitled to receive funds, will be paid after the census date for Semester 1 and 2.

  1. Recipients of a Tuition Scholarship will have their scholarship applied to their student account.
  2. Scholarships cannot be transferred to another person, semester, course, or year.
  3. Scholarships are neither transferable for cash nor refundable.

(29) To be eligible for payment, recipients must continue to meet the relevant eligibility criteria past the census date for HE recipients, or past the last day to withdraw for VET recipients.

  1. Where full time enrolment is a condition of a scholarship, recipients are expected to undertake forty (40) credit points per Semester (HE) or the agreed full time study plan (VET) and finish their course within the standard full-time duration.
  2. Where the scholarship allows for part time enrolment, recipients may be paid at a pro-rata rate, and may be permitted to finish their course up to double the length of time for a standard full-time duration.
  3. Enrolment that extends over a longer period of time (where a recipient reduces their study load) will not continue to attract a scholarship payment past the expected full time or part time duration.

(30) Scholarship recipients must notify the Scholarships Office as soon as they withdraw from their course or reduce their study load.

  1. Where a scholarship recipient withdraws from their course prior to the end of the Semester but after the payment date, the University will not seek repayment unless otherwise stated on the scholarship Terms and Conditions.

Suspension of a scholarship

(31) Scholarship recipients will be reviewed twice a year to ensure they meet ongoing eligibility requirements, and recipients may have their scholarship suspended (put on hold) due to:

  1. a period of approved intermission; or
  2. where the recipient has failed to meet ongoing eligibility criteria.

(32) A scholarship may only be suspended for a maximum of two (2) semesters (unless otherwise stated in the terms and conditions). 

  1. This may include:
    1. One (1) or two (2) semesters of approved Intermission; or
    2. One (1) semester of approved intermission and one (1) semester of suspension on the grounds of failure to meet ongoing eligibility criteria.
  2. A further period of suspension may be considered in exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis.

(33) A recipient who is approved for the continuation of a scholarship following a period of suspension will have their payments resumed until the remaining value of the scholarship has been paid or the student no longer qualifies.

Termination of a scholarship

(34) A scholarship recipient or the University may terminate a scholarship.

  1. In the event that a scholarship recipient is not awarded the full scholarship amount, any leftover funds will usually be accrued towards a future scholarship.

(35) A scholarship recipient may terminate their scholarship by:

  1. informing the University in writing that they wish to terminate their scholarship; or
  2. withdrawing from their course.

(36) The University may terminate a scholarship where the recipient:

  1. fails to fulfil the ongoing eligibility criteria for two teaching periods,
  2. breaches the terms and conditions of the scholarship, or
  3. is found by the University to have breached the Code of Conduct - Students.

(37) Prior to any decision to terminate a scholarship, the University will inform the recipient of the proposal to consider termination and invite them to make a submission on the matter.

  1. The University will inform the recipient of the outcome and reasons in writing.

Selection and awarding of prizes

(38) Prizes are awarded to students based on merit and therefore do not have an application process, or website listing.

  1. There is no limit on the number of prizes a student can be awarded.

Assessment of nominees

(39) Students will be nominated for a Prize by Faculties or relevant business units based on eligibility criteria and will be assessed against the prize’s selection criteria.

(40) Where required as part of the selection process, the Faculty or relative business unit will use a scoring system to rank the nominated students and will offer the prize to the highest ranked student.

  1. Where there are no eligible students for a prize in a particular year, the Faculty or relevant business unit may, in consultation with the donor where applicable, review and amend the selection and eligibility criteria to broaden the awardee potential, redirect funds to another prize or choose to not award the prize.
  2. Details of the assessment process will be provided to nominees on request.

Notification of prize recipients

(41) Successful nominees will be notified in writing within ten (10) working days of the decision.


(42) Prizes will be paid as a one-off payment to the recipient, as soon as practicable following the relevant prize giving ceremony.

Recognition of donors and scholarship and prize recipients

(43) All donors and scholarship and prizes will be appropriately acknowledged by the University, which may include an in-person presentation at a Scholarship Celebration or relevant prize giving ceremony.

  1. Recipients of prizes and donors may also be acknowledged on public facing digital platforms.

Review and renewal of scholarships & prizes

(44) The University will conduct an annual review of each category of scholarships and prizes to determine whether that category should continue or cease to be offered.

  1. Decisions will take into consideration the Gifts and Benefits Policy and any conditions made by the donor at the time of Donation.

(45) Where a donor wishes to renew a scholarship agreement, the University will prepare a new Scholarship Terms and Conditions document and a Donor Agreement.

(46) The University reserves the right, in any given year, not to offer particular scholarships, or any scholarships.

Transitional provisions

(47) Within one year of the implementation of this policy, all existing scholarships and prizes will either:

  1. continue in their original form (including those subjects to trust or contract terms); or
  2. be adapted to comply with this policy and accompanying procedures; or
  3. cease to be offered.
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Section 5 - Non-Compliance

(48) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(49) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(50) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.