The Commonwealth Scholarships programme assists students from low socio-economic backgrounds, especially those from regional and remote areas and Indigenous students, with costs associated with higher education. The programme currently has two key components. Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships (CECS) which assist students with general education costs and Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships (CAS) which assist students from regional and remote areas who have to move to attend higher education and incur accommodation costs. In 2008 a CECS is valued at $2162 a year and a CAS is valued at $4324 a year. Both scholarships are indexed annually.
As an outcome of the 2007–08 Budget, two new categories of CECS and CAS were introduced in 2008 to provide assistance to students enrolled in associate degree courses and to Indigenous students undertaking higher education enabling courses. In addition, 1000 Indigenous Access Scholarships (IAS) will be made available annually to assist Indigenous students to access higher education. An IAS is a once in a lifetime payment valued at $4080 in 2008 (indexed annually).
The purpose of this discussion paper is to seek views on the implementation of the federal government’s election commitment to double the number of Commonwealth Scholarships to 88,000 by 2012 through the introduction of new Commonwealth Scholarships under Scholarships for a Competitive Future.