Mobility grants FAQ - 2014 pilot phase

1. What is the New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility pilot? Updated 21 February 2014

The New Colombo Plan Mobility pilot provides opportunities for Australian universities and university consortia to provide grants to Australian undergraduate students to participate in semester based or short term study in one of four eligible destinations: Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Applications are for study options in 2014 and the first half of 2015. For more information, please see the NCP mobility program pilot guidelines.

The pilot phase consists of two tranches of applications for funding:

Tranche 1 will allow universities or university consortia to submit one application each – either individually or as a member of a consortium, for a single destination for study options within projects which must be undertaken in first semester, 2014. Tranche 1 applications closed on 23 January 2014. Universities that received an offer of funding for Tranche 1 may proceed based on the contents of their application and project schedule.

Tranche 2 will allow universities or university consortia to submit applications for one or more destinations for study options within projects in second semester, 2014 and first semester, 2015.

Universities or university consortia can submit only one application for each of the pilot destinations. These applications (including those submitted as part of a consortium) should be ranked in order of the university’s/consortium’s priorities (see also Q41 below). The rankings will be taken into account by assessors along with assessment against the selection criteria.

Tranche 2 applications must be submitted by the designated university officer (usually the International Liaison Officer) through the ISEO system

Tranche 2 will be open for application between 21 February and 21 March 2014. Applications must be submitted by no later than 11:59pm on 21 March 2014

2. How much funding is available for mobility grants under the New Colombo Plan mobility pilot? Updated 18 December 2013

The New Colombo Plan mobility pilot aims to support Australian undergraduate students with approximately $4million in mobility grants to be used for study options across the four pilot destinations.

The funding for the pilot mobility program is to be utilised for Tranches 1 and 2 of the pilot. The Government is encouraging involvement across the university sector.

Therefore, in any application universities should ensure that projects can be scaled up or down to assist with funding decisions and to help the university distribute any funding offers accordingly.

3. Is there a limit on the number of projects a university can submit? Updated 10 February 2013

Universities may submit applications for each of the four destination countries in Tranche 2. Applications can include several projects/activities. Universities should be aware of the funding available, and submit realistic applications of priority activities.

4. How can NCP mobility pilot funding be used?

Funding is to be used to support students undertaking a short-term or semester study experience in one of the pilot destinations.

Funding is allocated to students (as a direct grant) through their university. The grants are intended to offset some of the costs associated with participating in a mobility experience.

Grants to students must be no less than $1000 and no more than $3000 for short-term study options and no less than $3000 and no more than $7000 for semester study options. The grants can also be used for language training that is part of the student’s study option.

The grants can also be used for language training that is part of the student's study option. The Program is intended to support the study of relevant languages as part of the student's study experience in the Indo Pacific region, but this is not a mandatory element. Language study, where undertaken, can take place either in Australia prior to departure or while in the host destination, and universities are encouraged to consider how the language study will support the study experience (5.1 Guidelines). Updated 18 December 2013

Universities can access a maximum of 10 per cent of the total funding they receive for the purpose of subsidising costs associated with program administration, including the evaluation reporting requirement.

Details of expenditure must be provided in the evaluation report to be submitted by universities and consortia (See section 8.1 of the mobility program pilot guidelines).

5. Do all student grants need to be the same amount?

Students travelling to the same destination for the same type and length of study should receive the same subsidy amounts.

However, students travelling to different destination countries or locations, or undertaking different study options, may need different subsidy amounts. Universities should use their discretion when allocating funding to make sure that all students are provided with reasonable financial support.

Note: Grants must remain within the funding bands for short-term ($1,000 - $3,000) or semester ($3,000 - $7,000).

6. When can NCP mobility pilot funding be used?

The NCP mobility pilot is for study options in 2014 and the first half of 2015.

7. Are programs able to be undertaken during semester breaks? Updated 21 February 2014

Yes, programs may be undertaken during semester breaks.

Recipients of Tranche 1 funding should depart by 30 June 2014. The evaluation report for Tranche 1 is due in July/August 2014 so study should not extend beyond this period.

Recipients of Tranche 2 funding can depart Australia as soon as a funding agreement is in place. Study should be completed by 31 July 2015. Proposed arrangements outside of this timeframe will be considered on a case-by-case basis and should be set out in Tranche 2 applications and emailed to student.mobility@education.gov.au before 21 March 2014.

8. Where can NCP students study in the mobility pilot?

The four NCP pilot destinations are:

  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong.

9. What types of study options are eligible under the NCP mobility pilot?

Eligible study options include:

  • Semester based study of enrolment in one or two semesters (up to 12 months)
  • Practicums
  • Clinical placements
  • Internships / mentorships
  • Short term research
  • Short term study
  • Volunteer placements.

Any study option must be for academic credit or otherwise be a mandatory component of the student's course.

10. Can NCP mobility pilot projects involve travel to more than one country?

No. The NCP mobility pilot does not support travel to multiple destinations within the same application.

11. Are internships/mentorships compulsory under the NCP mobility pilot? Updated 25 March 2014

No. However, universities are encouraged to assist students in undertaking internships or mentorships as part of their overseas study. Universities' ability to provide internships is also part of the application selection criteria (See section 5 of the NCP mobility program pilot guidelines).

Internships/mentorships may be undertaken as part of a mobility program, or they may be the sole component of a mobility program. For example:

  • students doing a semester exchange in Japan may spend their final three weeks undertaking an internship with a local company
  • a cohort of students may travel to Singapore to undertake one-month internships with local businesses

Internships do not need to be undertaken as part of a semester project. The maximum duration of internship/mentorship opportunities is six months (full-time). All internships and mentorships need to provide credit towards the grant recipient’s course, and/or be a mandatory course component.

12. Is there support for language study under the NCP mobility pilot?

Yes, language study for an official language of the host destination is supported under the pilot (See section 3.2.2 of the NCP mobility pilot guidelines).

There is no separate grant for language study, but universities are encouraged to consider how the projects can support additional language study. The ability of universities to support language study will also be part of the application selection criteria (See section 5 of the NCP mobility program pilot guidelines).

Language funding is not intended for study that is part of the students' normal course enrolment.

13. Is there a Project Facilitation Subsidy?

Universities can access a maximum of 10% of the total funding they receive for the purpose of subsidising the costs associated with project administration including evaluation reporting requirements.

14. Will there be guidelines issues for the reporting requirements? Added 7 January 2014

Specific guidelines for the reporting will be provided in due course. The mobility guidelines already provide some information on the reporting requirements including the timeframes.

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Eligibility

15. Who can apply for NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Only Australian universities or consortia of Australian universities are eligible to apply.

Where an application is from a consortium, the consortium will be required to nominate a lead university and list its university members in the application (see also Q41). Consortia must be made up of Australian universities listed under Table A or B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA). The lead university will be accountable for meeting the legal and reporting requirements on behalf of the consortium (See section 2.1.1 of the NCP mobility pilot guidelines).

16. Which higher education providers are eligible to apply for NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Only Australian universities that are Table A or B providers under the HESA can apply for NCP funding.

For more information about Table A and B providers please visit http://content.myuniversity.gov.au/sites/MyUniversity/pages/about

17. Can a university submit an application as an individual institution and again as a participating member of a consortium? Updated 10 February 2014

Yes, two separate applications can be submitted.

18. If a consortium has foreign university members or non-university members, would they be excluded from receiving any funding?

No. However, foreign universities and non-university members are not eligible to receive funding. In the application, consortia will be required to list which Australian member institutions will be receiving funding under their application and should exclude ineligible entities.

19. Can consortia still partner with foreign university or non-university members of their consortium?

Yes. Consortia can still work with their foreign university or non-university members as long as they remain compliant with the guidelines and funding agreement.

20. Do all study options within projects have to involve a partner institution? Updated 18 December 2013

No, there is no requirement for projects to have a partner. This allows for study abroad programs to take place under the NCP Mobility Grants Pilot, that is, semester based or short-term projects at non-partner institutions.

21. Who can receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

NCP grants are for Australian students that are:

  • an Australian citizen. Students with dual citizenship are eligible, however they must undertake their study in a third country, of which they are not a citizen;
  • enrolled in an Australian university at the time of application and throughout their study. An Australian university is defined as a supplier listed under Table A or Table B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003;
  • between 18 and 28 years of age at the commencement of their study program; and
  • undertaking a Bachelor’s degree level program (Pass or Honours) onshore at an Australia university campus at the commencement of the program.

Grants are provided to students through their university.

22. Would a graduate-entry Bachelor's degree be classified as 'Undergraduate'? (i.e.: MBBS) Added 7 January 2014

Yes, students undertaking graduate entry Bachelor's degree programs are eligible for NCP grants.

23. Are dual citizens eligible to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

Yes, students with dual citizenship may receive NCP grants. However, they can only study in countries where they do not hold citizenship. Students should not receive a grant to study in a country if they are a citizen of that country.

24. Are graduate research students (PhD and Masters students) eligible to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

No. NCP funding is only available for Australian undergraduates.

25. Are vocational education students eligible to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

No. NCP funding is only available for undergraduate higher education students.

Vocational students may still receive funding under existing student mobility programs such as the VET Outbound Mobility Program. For more information, please go to www.aei.gov.au

26. Are international students able to receive NCP mobility pilot grants?

No.

27. Can a student receive more than one NCP mobility pilot grant?

No, students are only eligible to receive one NCP mobility grant in the pilot round.

28. Does the study program/funded activity have to count for credit towards a student’s course? Updated 18 December 2013

Yes. All study must be for academic credit or a mandatory part of the student's course.

29. Must students study in a language other than English? Added 7 January 2014

It is not mandatory for students to undertake NCP funded study in courses in a language other than English.

30. Are activities that are a "mandatory component of the student's course" eligible for mobility grant funding even if the activity is not for credit? Added 7 January 2014

Yes, if the activities are a mandatory part of the course they are eligible for funding.

31. Is there any funding available for destinations outside the Indo Pacific region?

NCP mobility pilot funding is for study in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Following the full roll-out of the NCP in 2015, funding will be available for study in destinations across the Indo Pacific.

Other student mobility programs support study in a wide range of destinations. Information on these programs is available at www.aei.gov.au

32. Can projects include study at an Australian institution’s offshore campus?

No, under the NCP mobility grants pilot, study at an Australian institutions offshore campus in one of the pilot destinations is not permitted.

33. Can projects include study at any other non-local university in a pilot country? (for example an American or British university)? Updated 18 December 2013

No, under the NCP mobility grants pilot, study is intended to be undertaken at a local university, where a period of study at a university is part of the mobility program application.

34. Does Tranche 2 allow for funding applications for students who will be overseas at the time of application? UPDATED 21 FEBRUARY 2014

Funding is not available for students already overseas at the time the program commences.

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Applications

35. How can my university apply for NCP mobility pilot funding?

Applications for Tranche 2 funding will be through the ISEO system.

All applications must be submitted by the university's nominated International Liaison Officer (ILO).

Note: The ILO of the lead university in a university consortium application will be the person responsible for submitting applications on behalf of the consortium.

Universities may apply for one or both Tranches. Participation in Tranche 1 is optional and will not preclude a university being approved for funding under Tranche 2. Funds will be provided before the end of the 2013-14 financial year.

36. What is ISEO?

ISEO is the Department of Education’s online application and project management system for student mobility applications. This is where registered university officers (usually the International Liaison Officer) will apply for NCP funding either by downloading the application form for Tranche 1, or submitting online from Tranche 2.

Except for Tranche 1, all applications must be submitted through ISEO. For ease of administration and to prevent duplication, only the nominated ILO or assistant ILO is able to access the ISEO system.

Universities or consortia representing universities must be registered online via ISEO before any applications are submitted. They must also have a current contractual agreement (Deed of Standing Offer) between their institution and the Department of Education.

37. Is there a word limit for responses against the selection criteria in New Colombo Plan mobility pilot applications? Updated 10 February 2014

There is a set word limit of 500 words for Tranche 2 applications.

Applicants are encouraged to be succinct in their responses, while still clearly addressing the selection criteria.

38. What if the university doesn't have an ILO?

To nominate an ILO and register for ISEO, please contact the Department of Education at student.mobility@education.gov.au

39. How can a university consortium apply for NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Applications for Tranche 2 funding will be through the ISEO system.

The international liaison officer of the lead university of a consortium application should submit applications on behalf of the consortium.

The ILO can submit applications on behalf of the consortium in the same way as they would for an individual university.

To nominate an ILO and register for ISEO, please contact the Department of Education at student.mobility@education.gov.au

40. Can universities rank their own individual applications separately from any applications they submit on behalf of a consortium? Added 10 February 2014

Yes. The ISEO system requires lead universities submitting applications on behalf of consortiums to rank those applications. Separately, those same universities need to rank their own applications. For example, if a lead university submitted four applications on behalf of a consortium, it would rank those consortium applications from 1 to 4. The university would also then rank its own applications.

41. When can the university submit an application for Tranche 2 funding?

Applications for Tranche 2 will be through the ISEO system.

Tranche 2 will be open for application between 21 February and 21 March 2014. Applications must be submitted by no later than 11:59pm on 21 March 2014.

42. Can the university submit more than one application? UPDATED 21 FEBRUARY 2014

Universities and consortium may submit more than one application in Tranche 2, one for each of the pilot destinations. However applications must be ranked in order strategic priorities. These rankings will be taken into account by assessors along with assessment against the selection criteria.

Example for Tranche 2
Application Location Rank Study Options Proposed Funding
1 Japan 1
  • Volunteer project with language study
  • Internship in Engineering
  • Short Term Study Graphic Arts and Design
  • Semester-based study in nanotechnology with language study
$70,000
2 Hong Kong 2
  • Internship in business with language study
  • Semester based in environmental studies with language study
$45,000
3 Indonesia 3
  • Short Term volunteer work
  • Internship in Engineering with language study
  • Short Term Study Graphic Arts and Design
$92,000
4 Singapore 4
  • Clinical Placement
  • Mentorship in commercial law with language study
  • Short-term study
  • Volunteer project
$55,000

43. What details will universities need to provide in their applications?

For each application, universities will need to provide the following:

  • Name of institution/consortium
  • Name of ILO submitting application
  • Destination
  • Partner institutions (if known)
  • Faculty(ies) or School(s)
  • Details of study options within projects
  • Responses against each selection criterion
  • Amount of funding sought

Each destination country will require a separate application

44. Are universities restricted to only one type of study option in each destination?

No. When applying for funding for a particular destination, universities should list all the study options planned for that destination. For example, a particular pilot destination may have semester study, practicums, clinical placements and internships/mentorships, while another pilot destination may have semester study and internships/mentorships. Universities do not have to choose only one type of study option for each destination.

To be successful for funding the study option must be compliant with all criteria as outlined in the program guidelines. The Department of Education may approve the compliant study options within an application while rejecting non-compliant options in the same application.

Projects should be designed so that they can be scaled up or down depending on the available funding. Universities should ensure that activities can be disaggregated if necessary (or scaled up or down, as per the guidelines) to assist the committee with funding decisions, bearing in mind the funding available for the pilot mobility program to be spread across both tranches. Updated 18 December 2013

45. Do universities have to submit an application for every pilot destination?

No. Universities should only submit applications for destinations in which they can effectively implement mobility projects for their students.

46. How will applications be assessed? Updated 18 December 2013

Applications will be assessed by appropriate officers from the Department of Education to determine eligibility and to create a shortlist for the panel’s consideration.

Decisions on funding will be made by a panel of senior representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The details of the selection process for the mobility program are as follows:

  • Eligibility is determined against the criteria. Ineligible proposals might, for example, be for students going to a country other than one of the 4 pilot countries, or for postgraduate students, or for a study tour that does not provide credit or is not a mandatory element of the students’ course.
  • A selection panel will then consider all eligible applications on their merits against the selection criteria (5.1 Guidelines) and program objectives (1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 Guidelines). In Tranche 2 (for which universities may lodge up to four proposals for the 4 pilot countries) universities will also indicate their own priority rankings. The higher rankings tend to be given to projects that build on existing research collaboration or teaching partnerships, or that extend into an institution where the university is working hard to develop a new relationship.
  • The panel will seek to achieve a spread across institutions (3.1 Guidelines), across pilot destination countries (5.1 Guidelines), and will allocate approximately 70 per cent for semester based projects and 30 per cent for short term study (1.5 Guidelines). The panel will also look at the quality of the proposals in relation to the program objectives (1.3 and 1.4 Guidelines).
  • In selecting projects to fund within the budget available, the panel will also consider where institutions have indicated projects could be scaled up or down (1.4 Guidelines).

47. When will universities find out the outcomes of their applications? Updated 10 February 2014

Tranche 1 outcomes will be made available in early February 2014. Tranche 2 outcomes will be made available in April 2014.

48. When will funding become available?

Funding will be made available once universities/university consortia have submitted the required documentation and invoice.

49. What are the reporting requirements for the NCP mobility pilot?

Successful universities will need to submit all of the following:

  • Pre departure details for each recipient including travel dates and destinations, project name and contact details (phone and email)
  • Evaluation report for Tranche 1
  • Mid-way Evaluation report for Tranche 2
  • Final Evaluation report for Tranche 2
  • Completion report
Timeline Activity
July/August 2014 Tranche 1 Evaluation report due
31 January 2015 Tranche 2 mid-way evaluation report due
31 July 2015 Tranche 2 final evaluation report due
Completion report for Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 due

50. How do universities incorporate the 10 per cent administrative subsidy component into their funding applications? Added 7 January 2014

Universities should estimate the total funding for all study options to be undertaken within their application and add 10 per cent to that amount to be used for administration expenses. For example, if an institution would like to apply for $30,000 for grants for students, 10 per cent can then be added to that total, bringing the total funding applied for to $33,000.

51. How long does my university have to use NCP mobility pilot funding? Updated 10 February 2014

Tranche 1 funding is to be used for study in first semester 2014. Students should depart Australia by 30 June 2014. The Tranche 1 evaluation report is due in July/August 2014 so study should not extend beyond this period.

Tranche 2 funding must be used for study in second semester 2014 and first semester 2015. Study can also be undertaken during semester breaks. Projects may commence as soon as there is a funding agreement in place. The completion report for both Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 is due 31 July 2015 and all projects should be completed by this date.

52. If funding is sought for 15 students but ultimately only 10 students are allocated to a project, can the funds be dispersed across the project or are the fund to individual students only? Added 7 January 2014

Funding for students can be reallocated provided it falls within the flexible funding bands of $1000-$3000 for short term projects and $3000-$7000 for semester based projects. Funds can be used at the university's discretion, provided that all students undertaking the same project receive the same grant amount and that the university reports against how the funds were allocated. Unspent funds will have to be returned to the Department of Education as specified in the Funding Agreement.

For example, a university may request $30,000 for 15 students as part of an application for Japan. However, only 10 students were able to be allocated to this project. The leftover $10,000 may be:

  • reallocated towards another project within the scope of the Japan application, provided that all students on this project will still receive the same grant amount
  • returned to the Department of Education

53. Can NCP mobility pilot funding be offered to students who have already received a grant under another mobility program administered by the Department of Education such as AsiaBound, ISEP or STMP? Updated 18 December 2013

Eligible students who have already received a grant under other programs administered by the Department of Education, such as AsiaBound, ISEP or STMP, are not precluded from funding under the New Colombo Plan mobility pilot. However, universities should consider the greatest benefit from this program in extending the experience of study in the Indo Pacific region to as many students as possible. The grants must be applied for and provided to the student under separate projects.

54. What is happening to AsiaBound and other mobility programs such as STMP?

Student mobility programs administered by the Department of Education will continue throughout the pilot phase of the NCP. Further information and details of any future changes will be provided in due course.

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For students

55. How can I receive NCP mobility pilot funding?

In the first instance students should speak to the student mobility office at their Australian university. Students do not apply for funding directly. Universities submit applications and, if successful, provide grants to their eligible students.

56. Will I lose my income support payments (eg Youth Allowance) while on a NCP project?

You can still receive many Centrelink payments while you are studying overseas, depending on the circumstances of your study. Visit Centrelink for more information about your payment while studying overseas.

57. Are there any other funding sources available to assist me with my overseas study costs?

Yes. The OS-HELP loan scheme provides loans for eligible Commonwealth-supported students who want to undertake some of their study overseas and is intended to cover some of the costs of overseas study such as travel and accommodation. For more information about the OS-HELP loan scheme please visit the OS-HELP website.

Individual universities may also have their own programs to support overseas study.

If you are interested in overseas study you should contact the student mobility office at your university, as they will be able to provide you with more advice about what specific opportunities may be available.

58. What are the changes to the OS-HELP from 1 January 2014?

OS-HELP is a loan program to assist eligible students to pay expenses associated with undertaking overseas study as part of their higher education. Changes to the OS-HELP scheme from 1 January 2014 will support the Government’s New Colombo Plan initiative by providing additional assistance for students who undertake overseas study in the Indo Pacific region.

The maximum loan amount for students undertaking study in the region will be increased to $7,500 in 2014, $1250 more than for other destinations. This funding will send a strong signal to students of the Government’s support for engagement with the region.

As language can be a barrier to overseas travel for many students, a new loan of up to $1,000 has been introduced to assist eligible students with the cost of language training taken in preparation for study in the region.

Changes to the OS-HELP eligibility requirements will also allow students to receive OS-HELP assistance for any overseas study experience that counts towards their Australian degree, including clinical placements and internships. This change complements the New Colombo Plan’s hallmark internship component.

59. What kinds of overseas study can students receive OS-HELP assistance for?

To receive OS-HELP assistance, a student’s overseas study must count towards their degree. Types of overseas study for which students could receive OS-HELP assistance could include, but are not limited to, semester or year-long exchanges, study tours, clinical placements and internships.

60. Where can I go for more information about the NCP?

Information about the New Colombo Plan is also available at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, at www.dfat.gov.au/new-colombo-plan

61. Where can I find information about studying overseas?

For more information about studying overseas, please check the following websites: www.studyoverseas.gov.au and www.world-class.com.au

62. Am I eligible for the NCP mobility program if I am an Australian citizen but have permanent residency in another country?

Applicants with dual citizenship or Australian citizenship and permanent residency in another country are eligible under the New Colombo Plan, however, they must undertake their scholarship or mobility program in a third destination, of which they are not a citizen or permanent resident.

63. How will Australian Government representatives assist New Colombo Plan students overseas?19 March 2014

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can provide consular services to Australian students when they are overseas, in the same way it does for other Australians overseas. The Consular Services Charter sets out the standards of service all Australians can expect to receive from consular staff, including what they can and cannot do.

Students should check the Smartraveller website http://smartraveller.gov.au/ operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for information about risks overseas and how they can better prepare for overseas travel, register their travel and subscribe to the relevant travel advisory.

Last Updated: 24 April 2015