By SAT News Desk
MELBOURNE, 30 April 2020: Different sections of the university sector and the wider community has welcomed the announcement by the Victorian Government to establish a $45 million support package for international students facing hardship due to COVID-19.
Victoria now joins the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australian, Tasmanian and Western Australian governments in assisting international students who, like their Australian peers, have lost casual or part-time jobs as a result of the global pandemic.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said almost all states and territories, together with every Australian university, now offer support for international students.
“Many international students now find themselves in extremely difficult circumstances due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Unlike their Australian classmates, there will be those who won’t have family or local support networks to fall back on,” Ms. Jackson said.
“Assistance from all levels of government adding to that from our universities is vital at this time of growing need.”
“University support initiatives now include providing emergency grants, scholarships, accommodation, food, and low cost or free IT equipment.”
Ms. Jackson welcomed the Victorian support package and the co-contribution from the state’s universities.
“Universities Australia welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement to work with universities to assist the more than 100,000 higher education international students in the state who are facing hardship after losing their part-time jobs,” she said.
“International education is Australia’s fourth-largest export. In Victoria, universities contributed $7.5 billion in export income in 2018-19, supporting thousands of local jobs.”
Mr. Sharif As- Saber, Foundation Director, Master of International Business Program at RMIT University says, “The emergency relief fund for international students will help struggling international students during this unprecedented lockdown period. The Vic government website has created a link where students can register their interests. However, it is not clear how long will it take to receive the money.
It would be great if the government expedite the process. Although this will not be enough to support struggling international students during this unfortunate and uncertain situation, it will, at least, provide the students with some mental boost and sigh of relief.
Especially after the Prime Minister’s reckless ‘time to go home’ comment in early April, international students have received this positive news from the Victorian government. Regardless of the amount of money in the offer, this is heartening! I must thank and congratulate the Victorian Government for coming up with this innovative initiative!”