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International Student Support Package

Click here for updated COVID-19 information for international students

The South Australian Government has demonstrated its commitment to our international student community, by announcing a new $13.8 million International Student Support Package.

The International Student Support Package is designed to support international students currently residing in South Australia and facing financial hardship.


There are three components to the package:

  • The South Australian Government, in partnership with the state’s three public universities, will match funding to alleviate student hardship as a result of COVID-19. The funding will be distributed between the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia to distribute to their pathway and international students.
  • A $500 emergency cash grant will be available to other international students in the ELICOS, VET and Higher Education sectors not studying or packaged with one of the public universities, currently enrolled in a course, living in Adelaide and who meet the criteria.
  • For school students living with South Australian families, a one-off $200 COVID-19 assistance payment per student will be provided to homestay families, to help support accommodation for school students.

This significant financial package comes on top of work already underway by education providers, agents and community groups in Adelaide. We are proud of the response across the Adelaide community in supporting international students during this pandemic.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Am I eligible for the $500 emergency cash grant as part of the ISSP?

The $500 emergency cash grant is for international students who are experiencing financial hardship and meet the following criteria:

  • An international student enrolled to study with an education provider that has a South Australian campus
  • Resides in South Australia and is currently onshore in South Australia
  • Can be described as a;
    • Higher education student with one of South Australia’s private higher education institutions/private universities
    • Vocational Education and Training (VET) student (excluding students on packaged programs with one of South Australia’s three public Universities*)
    • English language student (excluding students on packaged programs with one of South Australia’s three public Universities*)
    • Pathway student (excluding students on packaged programs with one of South Australia’s three public Universities*)

If you meet this criteria, and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are welcome to apply.

* South Australia’s public universities are Flinders University, The University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.

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How do I apply for the $500 emergency cash grant?

If you believe you meet the criteria to apply for the $500 emergency cash grant, you can start the application process here. You only need to complete the application process once.

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I’m a student at a public university, can I apply?

If you are a current enrolled student at one of South Australia’s three public Universities - Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, University of South Australia - please refer to previous communication from your university regarding the availability of support to which the South Australian government is contributing.

You will need to apply for any support through your institution, not through the SA Government website.  Further information regarding support from each university can be found at the following links:

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Who can I contact for more information on the status of my application?

If you are needing an update on the status of your application please email [email protected].

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I need help urgently, are there other organisation’s I can ask for support while I wait for my application to be assessed?

If you are needing immediate support for food and essentials, please contact your provider in the first instance as they may have support they can provide. If they are unable to assist please find your closest support organisation, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Uniting Communities services are located across Adelaide too. To find out the range of support they offer including food and chemist vouchers, assistance with bills and expenses and access to no interest loans, visit the Uniting Communities website or call 08 8202 5846 for an appointment.

The Baptist Care Community Food Hub, open Monday to Thursday, is centrally located at 216 Wright Street in the city. Bread, fruit and vegetables are free and all other items are heavily discounted. Visit the Baptist Care SA website.

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How will I know if my application has been successful?

Applicants will be notified of the decision via email. If you are successful, funds will be directly credited into your bank account. You will be asked to provide your bank details during the application process.

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Can I apply more than once? Or I have been unsuccessful, can I reapply?

There is a limit of one $500 emergency grant per person. If you are unsuccessful in your application please contact your provider. They can then assist you to access other support.

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How long do applications take to process?

Your application will be processed as soon as possible. You will receive an email notification once your application has been assessed.

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When do applications close?

You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. There is no closing date for applications, but the funding provided for the International Student Support Package is finite.

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What is a packaged pathway program?

A packaged pathway is a program studied at one institution that upon successful completion guarantees you entry into a higher level program at the same or a different institution.

For example a student can be on a packaged pathway with an English Language program and a University. When the student successfully completes the English Language program they are accepted into the University program

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I’m a student on a packaged pathway currently studying a VET course, how do I apply?

Your provider or the University you are packaged with will make contact with you as soon as possible to advise the eligibility and process to seek support.

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I’m a student on a packaged pathway currently studying with an English Language provider, how do I apply?

Your provider or the University you are packaged with will make contact with you as soon as possible to advise the eligibility and process to seek support.

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I’m a student on a packaged pathway currently studying at a Pathway College, how do I apply?

Your provider or the University you are packaged with will make contact with you as soon as possible to advise the eligibility and process to seek support.

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I am an international high school student, can I apply?

For school students living with South Australian homestay families, a one-off $200 COVID-19 assistance payment per student will be provided to homestay families. These families will be contacted by the Department of Education or their school.

International school students do not need to apply.

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How much is the support package?

Eligible students will receive a one-off payment of $500.

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How do I prove that I am experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19?

Financial hardship occurs when you no longer have enough income to support your expenses such as rent, utilities and food. This may be for a number of reasons including loss of employment, reduced shifts or lack of ongoing family support. To demonstrate that you are experiencing financial hardship you will need to prove a loss of income and provide bank statements. The application process will guide you through the requirements.

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I haven’t been employed before, can I still apply?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria and your financial situation has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, then you can apply for the $500 emergency cash grant.

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My family can no longer financially support me, can I apply for the cash grant?

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria and can prove you are experiencing financial hardship.

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I moved back to my home country when the pandemic started, can I apply for the cash grant?

No, the grant is only available to eligible international students that are currently living in South Australia.

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My partner and I are both international students, can we both apply?

Provided you both meet the eligibility criteria you can both apply for the $500 emergency cash grant.

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I am an international student with dependent children, can I apply? Are my children also able to apply?

You can apply as an international student with dependent children. Your children would need to fit into one of the criteria to be eligible. International school students are not eligible for this package.

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I am on a temporary graduate (subclass) 485 visa, can I apply?

Unfortunately 485 visa holders are ineligible to apply. Please refer to the next question if you need help urgently.

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