More than 10,000 Australian students will receive grants to study in Asia and thousands more will have access to more generous student loans as part of a government strategy to strengthen engagement with Asia.
The $37 million AsiaBound Grants Programme will offer grants between $2,000 and $5,000 for students undertaking short or semester length study exchanges, and $1,000 grants for preparatory Asian language study.
In addition, eligibility for the Commonwealth’s OS-HELP loan scheme will be broadened and simplified to give more students access to increased loan amounts, as well as an extra $1,000 for intensive language training. Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, said that the government is encouraging Australian students to experience Asia first hand.
‘AsiaBound will support more than 10,000 Australian students to enjoy the experience of living and studying in an Asian country. This is a programme to give Australian students the opportunity to build lifelong professional networks and friendships,’ he explained.
‘In addition, all Australian students, across all disciplines, will have greater support to take up part of their study in Asia. Through the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, we aim to have a larger number of Australian university students studying overseas and a greater proportion undertaking part of their degree in an Asian country by 2025,’ he added.
The maximum OS-HELP loan amount for students undertaking study in Asia will increase by $1,250 to $7,500 in 2014 and eligibility will be opened to postgraduate students in Commonwealth supported places.
An additional $1,000 loan will be available to pay for intensive Asian language training prior to a student’s study abroad opportunity, and students will no longer need to be enrolled at an overseas higher education institution. Instead, they can undertake clinical placements or other study programs that contribute to their Australian university course.