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The Breadwinners' Programme

The Breadwinners’ Programme provides financial support to mature age Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are the primary breadwinner in their family, allowing them to study their first university degree.

This program provides the opportunity for students to advance their qualifications and careers, without affecting their ability to financially provide for their families; as well as allowing employers to increase their quality of delivery and productivity.

The program works through an agreement with the student’s permanent employer, allowing for the study of a three year undergraduate degree over four years whilst maintaining employment.

Apply now:

Contact us

For further information about the Breadwinners’ Programme or submitting an application, contact:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support Services
T 02 8627 8651

Frequently asked questions

How does the Breadwinners’ Programme work?

The Breadwinners’ Programme enables you to study a three year degree over four years. During the first two years you will continue to work full time while studying at the University part time (two subjects or units of study totaling 12 credit points per semester).
During the third and fourth year, you will study at the University full time (four subjects or units of study totaling 24 credit points per semester) while being on extended leave.
However, during the University breaks (which total 20 weeks per year) you will return to your employer for work for which you will be paid a pro-rata salary. During this time the Breadwinners’ scholarship will top up your salary to the level of your usual post-tax salary.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible to apply for the Programme if you:

  • Are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community; and are 21 years of age or older on 1 March of the year you intend to commence tertiary study; and
  • Are the main income earner in your family; and are currently employed in permanent full time or part time work in NSW; and
  • To the extent possible, are able to demonstrate educational disadvantage over time and provide evidence of a low socio-economic background over the last 10 years; and
  • Have not previously undertaken a bachelor degree at a university. Previous study of a foundation year, bridging course or enabling program at a university is permitted and does not impact eligibility for the Breadwinners’ Programme; and
  • Have been offered and accepted a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) or Full Fee Paying Place in an undergraduate bachelor degree at the University of Sydney; and
  • Have entered into a HECS-HELP scheme to cover the course fee.

During your study in the Breadwinners' Programme:

  • You must achieve academic progress deemed as satisfactory by the University of Sydney in order to remain in the Programme;
  • You must successfully progress according to the timeframe:
    – Year 1 and 2: two units of study (12 credit points) per semester
    – Years 3 and 4: four units of study (24 credit points) per semester

How do I apply?

  1. Talk to your employer
    Your employer will need to agree to the terms of the Breadwinners’ Programme for you to be eligible.

  2. Choose a course
    Explore a range of three-year undergraduate courses at sydney.edu.au/courses.

  3. Apply to the University of Sydney
    Apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) at uac.edu.au.
    UAC application fees, including late application fees, may apply.

  4. Apply for the Cadigal Alternative Entry Program
    The Cadigal program can help you gain entry if your entry scores are lower than normal requirements. Apply at cadigal.sydney.edu.au.

  5. Apply for the Breadwinners’ Programme
    Once you have applied to a course, you can apply for the Breadwinners' Programme. Scholarships will be awarded only to applicants who have gained entry to a course.
    Download the Breadwinners' Programme Application Form (PDF, 179 KB).

For information about any of these applications or supporting documents, please contact the Mana Yura team at .

What will it cost me?

You will need to pay student fees associated with your course, including HECS.

Which course can I study through the Breadwinners’ Programme?

Due to the structure of the Programme and the part-time study component in the first two years, we’d recommend completing a three year course. Explore our undergraduate courses at sydney.edu.au/courses.

It is possible to study a course that is longer than 3 years, but any additional years will not be covered under The Breadwinners' Programme. Please discuss your options with your employer to support the additional study time.

How do I make sure I get into The University of Sydney?

In order to be eligible for the Breadwinners' scholarship, you first need to be accepted into an undergraduate course at The University of Sydney. Entrance to University of Sydney degrees is competitive and applicants will need to demonstrate that they have a capacity to succeed in university study. This can include having an ATAR/UAI, completion of a tertiary preparation course (e.g. at TAFE), or partial completion of a university course.

Students with entry scores lower than normal requirements may still be accepted into to University of Sydney courses through the Cadigal Alternative Entry Program. Entry into courses is not guaranteed and candidates are encouraged to research the specific entry requirements of their course of choice. For more information please download the University’s Mature Age Entry brochure (PDF, 878 KB).

What are the tax implications of the Breadwinners' Programme?

Under the Australian tax laws, the scholarship contributions made by the Government will be tax exempt income. Therefore, you will not be taxed on these contributions when you receive the funds in Years 3 and 4 when you are a full time student. Please consult a financial adviser to determine your own individual circumstances and implications.

Can I apply if I live outside of Sydney?

As the University does not offer online courses for undergraduate degrees, student will need to attend class at our Sydney campuses several days a week. This will be difficult for applicants living in rural and regional areas.

At this stage, the University will accept applications from employees living in the Sydney region, or able to commute to their course's campus several times a week.

Can I apply if I work at the University of Sydney?

Absolutely! If you meet the criteria above, work at any Australian University and able to commute to your course's campus in NSW, you are eligible to apply.

Will I be able to manage the workload?

During the first two years of study you will be required to engage in part time studies (2 units of study totaling 12 credit points per semester) while you work full time in your job. During the third and fourth year, you will be required to engage in full time studies (4 units of study totaling 24 credit points per semester) at the University and will return to your employer to work during all semester breaks (totaling 20 weeks per year).

When enrolled in the Breadwinners’ Programme, you may choose to access support and services available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the University. These include the following:

  • Assistance from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Engagement Officers to orientate you to University and assist you with any course and scholarship queries
  • Access to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Orientation and Academic Skills Workshops
  • Access to the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS), an Australian Government program that provides tutors for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students for two hours per unit of study per week at no cost
  • Support from Academic Advisers within your faculty who can provide any study-specific advice you may need
  • Assistance from the University of Sydney Student Support Services, including counseling, study skills and career advice
  • Access to a workplace mentor provided by your employer
  • Access to University facilities, including the latest technology labs, libraries, and sport and fitness opportunities, including our aquatic centre, gyms and indoor climbing room.

For more information about our services, visit: sydney.edu.au/study/academic-support/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-support.html

What happens if I fail a subject?

The Breadwinners’ Programme is a four year program. If you extend your study time due to failing a subject, you will be responsible for negotiating with your employer about your return-to-work agreement.

If your studies continue beyond the fourth year, you will not be entitled to receive any further scholarship payments under the Programme.

What is required to provide evidence of my Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander identity?

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students are encouraged to proudly, safely and confidently self-identify at the University of Sydney. Applicants of the Breadwinners’ Programme are required to provide confirmation of their identity with their application. For more information on supporting documents to include, download our Confirmation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Identity Policy 2015 (PDF, 81 KB).

I have a tertiary education certificate (TAFE, diploma or certificate) – am I still eligible?

Yes, any TAFE diploma or certificate and/or previous study of a foundation year, bridging course or enabling program at a university or other tertiary education venue is permitted and does not impact eligibility for the Breadwinners’ Programme.

What happens if I leave the programme before completing the degree?

If you decide to leave the programme after the census date (the last day of the first month of each semester) you are liable to pay the fees for the semester, as well as the rest of your course fees accumulated throughout your study (HECS), and student admin fees.

If you decide to leave the Programme, you would need to talk to your employer about your return-to-work options and you’d also forfeit your eligibility for future payments from the scholarship in years 3 and 4.

Important dates for Semester 1 2018 enrolment

  • Saturday 30 September 2017
    On-time UAC applications due*
    *Fees apply. Late applications carry heavier fees.
  • Thursday 30 November 2017
    Cadigal Alternative Entry applications due
  • Wednesday 20 December 2017
    Breadwinners' applications due
  • January 2017 (date tbc)
    Breadwinners' recipients announced
  • Monday 5 March 2018
    Semester 1 starts
  • Saturday 31 March 2018
    Semester 1 census date