The Breadwinners' Programme
The Breadwinners’ Programme offers an opportunity for mature age Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to study for an undergraduate degree and still meet their family commitments.
The Breadwinners’ Programme creates a partnership between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers, their employer and the University of Sydney to support permanent employees to study. This collaboration supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait people to gain qualifications that improve their career prospects and their ability to contribute to their family and community; as well as allowing employers to increase their quality of delivery and productivity.
The Programme works through an employer/employee agreement that allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers to undertake study for a three year undergraduate degree over four years by permitting part time and full time studies at the University of Sydney.
- Download the Breadwinners' Programme Brochure (PDF, 326 KB)
- Download the Breadwinners' Programme Application Form (PDF, 181 KB)
- Download the Employer Agreement Form – support for participation in Breadwinners' Programme (.docx, 23 KB)
For further information about the Breadwinners’ Programme or submitting an application, contact:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support Services
T 02 8627 8619
Frequently asked questions
- How does the Breadwinners’ Programme work?
- Am I eligible?
- How do I apply?
- What will it cost me?
- What are the tax implications of the Breadwinners' Programme?
- Which course can I study through the Breadwinners’ Programme?
- Can I apply if I live outside of Sydney?
- Can I apply if I work at the University of Sydney?
- Will I be able to manage the workload?
- What happens if I fail a subject?
- What is required to provide evidence of my Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander identity?
- I have a tertiary education certificate (TAFE, diploma or certificate) – am I still eligible?
- What happens if I leave the programme before completing the degree?
- Important dates
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.
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
Applying for Breadwinners is a simple three step process:
- Check out our range of three-year undergraduate courses and apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) online.
- Once you have completed your UAC application, make sure you apply through the Cadigal alternative entry program. The Cadigal program is both an entry pathway and a support program. It can help you gain entry to a course if you miss the ATAR cut-off, and also provides ongoing academic and personal support once you’re enrolled and studying.
- Once you have received and accepted your offer from the University in mid-January, fill in and email the Breadwinners' Programme Application Form (PDF, 181 KB) to:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support Services
You will need to pay student fees associated with your course, including HECS.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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, 81KB).
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.
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.
- Midnight, Friday 2 December 2016
UAC Main round applications close for Semester 1*
- Monday 6 March 2017
Semester 1 starts.
- Friday 31 March 2017
Census date, Semester 1
- Saturday 1 July 2017
Semester 1 ends.
- Monday 31 July 2017
Semester 2 starts.