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Deakin University

Scholarships for aspiring students from refugee/asylum seeker backgrounds

Scholarships for aspiring students from refugee/asylum seeker backgrounds

Deakin University is committed to providing 5 new Sanctuary Scholarships each year (2023–2025) enabling students from a refugee or asylum seeker background t...

australia > VIC > Metro and regional
01/01/2023 > 31/12/2025


  • Education/training and employment
  • Social inclusion and justice


  • Asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and people from CALD backgrounds
  • People experiencing socio-economic disadvantage or vulnerability


Deakin University is committed to providing 5 new Sanctuary Scholarships each year (2023–2025) enabling students from a refugee or asylum seeker background to access higher education. Recipients will be supported for the duration of whichever course they choose to study, empowering them to create better lives for themselves in Australia.

It’s no secret that people seeking asylum or from refugee backgrounds face a myriad of daunting challenges. Forced to leave behind everything they know and love, these courageous individuals have often endured violence and persecution and many experience profound emotional and psychological distress. The lack of recognition for existing qualifications and frequent discrimination, make it extremely tough to find meaningful employment. Due to their visa status, many are not eligible for the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) loan and are classed as international students facing upfront tuition fees and limited or no access to financial support.

In 2021, only about 200 of ~30,000 people currently seeking asylum in Australia had been able to study at university thanks to scholarships and other support. Through Deakin University’s Sanctuary Scholarships program, we seek to change this narrative.

Our Sanctuary Scholarships cover 100% of tuition fees for the normal duration of a student’s course (funded by Deakin) and a cash stipend of $6000 per year, supported by our wonderful community of donors. Additional ‘wrap-around’ support is also provided from enrolment to graduation.

Join us in raising $30,000 for 5 additional cash stipends to help give these remarkable individuals a chance to rebuild.


At Deakin, we want to make a transformational difference to the lives of 15 new Sanctuary Scholars by dismantling the barriers that stand between these deserving students and their access to higher education. By reducing their financial burden and providing essential ‘wrap-around’ support services, our goal is to level the playing field for these remarkable individuals and set them up for success.

We believe that providing access to tertiary education for all is not just a noble goal, but an essential pathway to a brighter and more equitable future. Education has the power to break the chains of inequality and create life-changing opportunities for individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their socio-economic background, race or circumstance.

Through the Sanctuary Scholarship program, we hope to enable and empower recipients to:
- Thrive at University, academically and socially,
- Pursue their education as far as they wish to take it.
- Gain the skills they need to secure meaningful employment (through English language courses, academic mentorship and professional development opportunities).
- Integrate into their local communities and feel a sense of belonging in their new home.
- Build self-confidence and foster a sense of belonging
- Become the next generation of leaders, innovators and change-makers who will shape a brighter and more inclusive future for us all.

To date (2023), Deakin has offered sanctuary at Deakin to 34 students and our incredible donors have contributed over $320,000 to support these scholarships. We want to continue and expand this fundamental program with your support.

Profile of Deakin University

Deakin University

Established in 1974 as Victoria’s first regional university, Deakin is now one of Australia’s largest universities, and is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide. Deakin’s 5-star rating from the prestigious university ranking organisation Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) indicates that Deakin is world-class in a broad range of areas, has cutting-edge facilities and is internationally renowned for its research and teaching.

Deakin ranks well above average in the sector for both education and research – a dual strength that is rare among Australian universities. Deakin graduates have been the most satisfied in Victoria for 13 consecutive years, and the latest Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking rated 100% of Deakin's research at or above world standard.

Deakin’s innovation and excellence in both education and research generate ideas that transform lives and communities. Deakin’s people are known as creators and innovators, developing our ideas through exploration, testing and challenge, and translating and applying them to deliver impact. We aspire to be recognised as Australia’s most progressive and responsive university, leading in blending digital capability with our distinctive campus precincts. We leverage strong partnerships to maximise the social, cultural and economic impact we deliver regionally, nationally and globally.


TOTAL BUDGET: $270,000
Funding sourceAmount
Funding Gap (unconfirmed)$270,000
Expense itemAmount
Sanctuary scholarship stipends$270,000

Support Scholarships for aspiring students from refugee/asylum seeker backgrounds

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact us.


As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.