Scholarship program

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduates to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in participating regional locations.

On 25 June 2014, the Foreign Minister and Governor-General awarded 40 inaugural scholarships under the New Colombo Plan pilot program. See the list of 2014 scholars.

Approximately 60 New Colombo Plan scholarships will be awarded for study commencing in 2015.

Scholarship program guidelines 2015

Frequently Asked Questions – 2015 Scholarship Round

1. What are the key changes in the 2015 Round? Added 7 August 2014

A number of enhancements have been made to the Scholarship Program Guidelines for the 2015 Round:

  • The maximum number of scholarships has increased to around 60 scholarships.
  • The number of eligible host locations within the Indo-Pacific has increased – a list is available at Section 5.1 of the Guidelines. In certain circumstances, scholars may undertake some study or internship/mentorship activities in an eligible location additional to their principal host location.
  • Scholars should seek to study at local institutions. The 2015 round includes the possibility of utilising an off-shore campus of an Australian university, provided certain strict conditions are met.
  • Universities may nominate up to ten scholarship applicants in the 2015 round.
  • Nominations and applications will be submitted through a new NCP Online website.
  • Eligibility requirements include a minimum 70 per cent graded average or equivalent for an applicant’s undergraduate course to date and the selection criteria weightings have been revised.

Number of scholarships and locations

2. How many scholarships will be offered in the 2015 Round? Added 7 August 2014

Around 60 scholarships will be awarded in the 2015 Round. To ensure a degree of geographic spread, an expected maximum of around 10 scholarships are likely to be awarded for study in any single eligible location.

3. Where can scholars study as part of the 2015 NCP Scholarship Program? Added 7 August 2014

The 2015 NCP Scholarship Program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduates to undertake their scholarship program in a range of eligible Indo-Pacific locations. The full list of locations is available at Section 5.1 of the Guidelines.

Scholars must not travel to a location for which the Australian Government’s Smartraveller travel advice recommends ‘Do not travel’ (see  Locations for which the Smartraveller travel advice is at the level ‘reconsider your need to travel’ are eligible for NCP funding, but applicants must acknowledge explicitly that they have considered the risks carefully before deciding to apply/travel.

Scholarship program details

4. What can scholars study as part of their scholarship program? Added 7 August 2014

There are no limitations on the field of study a scholar may study as part of their scholarship study program. However, scholars must undertake a full-time study program for at least one study period (as defined by the host institution), for which they will receive full credit at their home university towards their bachelor’s degree or bachelor’s honours degree for their study program. Internships and mentorships are encouraged, but cannot alone constitute a scholarship study program, even if for credit or a mandatory component of the scholar’s course.


5. Can scholars study in multiple host locations? Added 7 August 2014

Scholars must undertake the majority of their scholarship program in one eligible location. Scholars may undertake some study or internship/mentorship activities in another eligible location where it is demonstrated that it adds meaningful value to the core scholarship program. Such a program would also be subject to relevant visa conditions.

No additional funding (to that outlined in Section 4.1 of the 2015 NCP Scholarship Guidelines) will be provided for a scholarship program undertaken in more than one location. Scholars will receive the monthly stipend over the agreed period of their scholarship program. Other benefits, such as the travel allowance and an establishment allowance, will be provided once only.

6. Can scholars study or intern across multiple host institutions and host organisations? Added 7 August 2014

Scholars may study at multiple host institutions provided that all eligibility and process requirements are met for study at all host institutions (eg evidence of host institution affiliation) and that scholars receive academic credit at their Australian university for study undertaken at host institutions.

Scholars may also undertake multiple internships and mentorships, with one or more host organisation/s. 

No additional funding (to that outlined in Section 4.1 of the 2015 NCP Scholarship Guidelines) will be provided for study or internships undertaken in more than one host institution or host organisation.

7. What are the requirements for NCP internships and mentorships? Added 7 August 2014

Scholars are strongly encouraged to undertake an internship or mentorship. Internships offer students the chance to test their skills in real-life work situations, gain insight into an organisation and build professional networks. Mentorships offer students the chance to engage in dialogue with a business professional or academic to support their learning and professional growth. 

Internships and mentorships undertaken by scholars must be recognised as part of their overseas NCP Scholarship Program. Scholars should seek academic credit for their internship or mentorship or have it recognised as a mandatory component of their qualification, but this is not mandatory. 

Internships/Mentorships may not be undertaken prior to study at a host institution. Internships may only be undertaken on a part-time basis concurrent with study or on a full-time basis after study. The maximum duration of a scholar’s internship component is six months regardless of whether one or multiple internships are undertaken. The minimum duration is one week. Mentorships may be undertaken only on a part-time basis concurrent with study.

Scholars are responsible for arranging and confirming their internship or mentorship, including by finalising an arrangement agreed by the scholar, host organisation supervisor and home university, which should cover details such as: the scope of assigned responsibilities, intended learning outcomes and method of evaluating performance, and conditions (for example any specific work health and safety requirements, insurance cover, office hours and remuneration (if any)). Scholars are also responsible for:

  • submitting a completed Internship/Mentorship Form to their case manager (as allocated under the Department of Education’s contracted service provider) at least one month prior to the beginning of the internship/ mentorship
  • ensuring they have appropriate visas at all stages of their time in the host location.

8. Can scholars undertake their scholarship study program at an off-shore campus? Added 7 August 2014

NCP scholarships should only be undertaken with local host institutions in the eligible host location.  Scholars cannot study in off-shore campuses of universities from other locations.

However, on a 12-month trial basis, study is eligible at off-shore campuses of Australian universities if the following conditions are met:

  • there are no local universities in the proposed location that offer relevant courses that would receive credit from the home university;
  • the off-shore campus offers a genuine local experience, where Australian students are the minority of the student body, students are taught predominantly by local or international academics and the course has a local/regional context; and
  • the Australian home university is continuing to explore and expand exchange or other partnerships with local universities in that location.

9. Can scholars study with a college, university college, or a third party provider? Added 7 August 2014

Yes, scholars can study in other local institutions, but they must undertake a study program for which they will receive credit at their home Australian university.

10. Will scholars receive payment for tuition fees? Added 7 August 2014

Where incurred, payment of international tuition fees of up to $15,000 ($7,500 per semester based or $5,000 per trimester based Study Period) for a maximum of one academic year will be made directly to the host institution. If the scholar’s study abroad is under the auspices of an exchange program and the host institution does not charge tuition fees, the allocation for international tuition fees will not be provided. The scholar may not claim the international tuition fees allocation to pay for fees charged by their Australian university.

11. What support is available to scholars for foreign language tuition? Added 7 August 2014

Scholars are eligible for support to undertake intensive language training as part of their scholarship program. The training must be in a language that is applicable to the host location in which the scholar is completing their scholarship program, or to the course of study in which the scholar is completing their scholarship program, and be undertaken in-country. Where incurred, payment of in-country language training fees (where incurred) of up to $1,000 will be made directly to the language training provider.

12. When can scholars commence their scholarship program? Added 7 August 2014

Successful applicants must commence their study program between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015.

Scholars will be funded for the entire length of their scholarship program, including up to one academic year of study and other components such as internships/mentorships (a maximum of six months if internship is undertaken full-time subsequent to study) or intensive language training (up to one month). The maximum duration of a scholarship program is 17 months.

13. What is the role of the Fellows? Added 7 August 2014

For each location within the Indo-Pacific, the top-ranked candidate will be acknowledged as a NCP Fellow. In determining Fellows, preference may be given to candidates undertaking one academic year of study. In addition to the benefits outlined in the guidelines, NCP Fellows will be awarded $1,000 to purchase study or learning materials in preparation for or during their NCP Scholarship. Fellows are also invited to play a strong role in promoting the NCP while in-country on their scholarship program and as part of the NCP alumni network.

Application and assessment process

14. What is the application process? Added 7 August 2014

Applicants for the 2015 NCP Scholarship Program must first be nominated by the Australian university in which they are enrolled. Universities are asked to conduct an internal nomination process to select up to ten nominees. Eligible Australian undergraduates who are interested in applying for a NCP Scholarship, and feel they have strong claims against the selection criteria, should contact the NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships or the international office in their university.

Applications for the 2015 round must be submitted through the NCP Online application system. The Department of Education will provide nominated applicants with an application pack, including instructions on how to complete and submit the application and the required supporting documentation (including referee reports). More information on the timelines and application process is included in Section 6 and 7 of the 2015 Scholarship Program Guidelines.

15. When does the 2015 round open for applications? Added 7 August 2014

Australian universities are requested to conduct an internal selection process and nominate students to apply for the program from 4 August to 29 August 2014 (nominations close 11.59pm AEST).

Nominees’ complete applications, including supporting documentation, must be submitted from 1 September to 26 September 2014 (applications close 11.59pm AEST).

16. Who can I ask about how to submit my nominations or application using NCP Online? Added 7 August 2014

For more guidance on how to use NCP Online, contact:

17. What evidence of affiliation with the host institution do applicants need to provide as part of their application? Added 7 August 2014

Please see Section 7.5 of the 2015 NCP Scholarship Program Guidelines.

18. How will scholarship applications be assessed? Added 7 August 2014

Scholarship applicants will be assessed and ranked against the selection criteria set out in the 2015 NCP Scholarship Program Guidelines. Initial short-listing of eligible applications will be undertaken by a panel comprising representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Education. All shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by a separate panel which may comprise representatives from among the following: government officials, members of the business community, academics, diplomatic corps representatives or others as determined appropriate.

19. Are there any lessons from the 2014 application process that may assist 2015 applicants? Added 7 August 2014

The criterion Demonstrated academic excellence was a strong factor in short-listing. Common reasons applicants were not successful included the provision of incomplete responses or responses that were narrow in scope and did not demonstrate an understanding of the strategic objectives of the program.

For applicants that were unsuccessful at the interview stage, there were a range of common areas where responses could have been strengthened:

  • better articulation of the applicant’s motivations for and interest in applying for the NCP
  • a more defined and carefully considered plan for study and an internship or mentorship
  • a strong awareness of how the scholarship would be used to benefit the applicant’s academic studies, and how an internship or mentorship might help applicants to define or achieve their future goals
  • a greater understanding of the broader strategic goals of the NCP and how the applicant’s studies and internship or mentorship experience would contribute to these
  • greater demonstration of academic accomplishments at the university level
  • stronger examples of leadership within the applicant’s community activities, and examples of leadership beyond the applicant’s university community, and
  • demonstration of greater research on the applicant’s proposed host location.


Please see Section 5.2 of the 2015 NCP Scholarship Program Guidelines for applicant eligibly requirements.

Are students eligible to apply if they:

20.  Are previous recipients of an Australian Government scholarship? Added 7 August 2014

Previous recipients of an NCP scholarship are not eligible for a 2015 Round NCP scholarship.

Previous recipients of other Australian Government scholarships are eligible for a NCP scholarship. However, where applicants are similarly meritorious, preference may be given to a student who has not previously been the beneficiary of an Australian Government funded off-shore scholarship.

In addition, applicants must not be undertaking another Australian Government funded off-shore scholarship at the commencement of, or concurrently with, their NCP scholarship program.

21. Have already commenced study in the host location or plan to commence this study prior to 1 January 2015? Added 7 August 2014

Successful applicants must commence their study program between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015. Applicants who have already commenced, or will commence, a study abroad or exchange program overseas prior to 1 January 2015 are not eligible to apply for a NCP scholarship to continue that study.

22. Have completed a calendar year of study but are not yet in the second year of their degree? Added 7 August 2014

To be eligible to apply, bachelor degree students must have completed at least one year of their degree by the time they would commence their proposed scholarship program.

23. Are part way through a degree but not currently enrolled in a course of study? Added 7 August 2014

To be eligible to apply, students must be enrolled in an on-shore campus of an Australian university at the time of application.

24. Are studying part time? Added 7 August 2014

Students who are studying part time in Australia are eligible to apply for a NCP scholarship, if they are in accordance with other eligibility requirements. However, while overseas, NCP scholars must undertake a full-time study program.

25. Are an Australian citizen but have permanent residency in another country/location? Added 7 August 2014

Applicants with dual citizenship, permanent residency or similar in another country are eligible. However, they must undertake their scholarship in a third location, in which they do not have citizenship or residency rights.

26. If, while undertaking a scholarship program on a study abroad basis, they would not be enrolled at their home Australian university? Added 7 August 2014

For the purposes of the NCP Scholarship Program, an applicant who would take a leave of absence to undertake their approved study abroad program, for which they would receive full credit at their home university, is eligible to apply.

27. Are enrolled in a graduate-entry bachelor’s degree program? Added 7 August 2014

Graduate-entry bachelor’s degree programs are classified as ‘undergraduate’ (i.e. MBBS) and students undertaking these programs are eligible for NCP scholarships. Students undertaking postgraduate degree programs (such as MD, JD or similar programs) are not eligible for NCP scholarships.

After the selection process

28. When are applicants required to provide evidence of acceptance at the host institution? Added 7 August 2014

Evidence of acceptance at the host institution must be provided by successful applicants to the support services organisation contracted by the Department of Education, prior to the applicant commencing their scholarship.

This evidence could be in the form of a document from the host institution to the applicant, or the applicant’s Australian university, confirming enrolment, or a letter from the Australian university to the applicant confirming that the placement at the host institution has been agreed.

29. How will Australian Government representatives assist NCP students overseas? Added 7 August 2014

Successful Scholars are required to read carefully the website operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for information about risks overseas and how they can prepare for overseas travel. Scholars must also register on the Smartraveller website and subscribe to relevant travel advisories on prior to commencement of their Scholarship.

Please see Section 4 of the NCP Scholarship Program Guidelines for a list of scholarship benefits.  These include provision of a support services organisations engaged to provide support services to all scholars, including a dedicated case manager, pre-departure briefing, advice on health and travel insurance and accommodation, and payment of allowances.

Last Updated: 10 June 2014

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