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Coursework Scholarships Procedure

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Section 1 - Context

(1) This procedure sets out how the University of Newcastle (University) will establish, award, and manage scholarships. This procedure supports the Coursework Scholarships Policy, which should be read in conjunction with this procedure.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) This procedure applies to all University staff and external stakeholders who are involved in the establishment, assessment of applications, shortlisting, selection, awarding, and payment of enabling, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework Scholarships as defined in the Coursework Scholarships Policy, including students who may apply for a Scholarship.

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Section 3 - Establishing a New Scholarship

Scholarship Proposal

(3) A Scholarship Proposal must be completed and submitted to a delegated authority for approval.

(4) Scholarship Proposals and the Terms and Conditions of the scholarship will be approved and submitted to Student Central Scholarship Staff at least 10 business days prior to the intended application opening date.

(5) Where a proposal for a scholarship has been submitted with funds pending receipt, final approval following the receipt of funds must be confirmed with Student Central Scholarship staff at least 4 business days prior to the intended application opening date.

Scholarship Administration Set Up

(6) On receipt of an approved scholarship proposal, Student Central Scholarship staff will complete the following tasks:

  1. assign a unique scholarship code;
  2. configure the scholarship in the relevant administration systems, including setting the open and close dates for applications;
  3. publish the scholarship on the University of Newcastle Scholarship website for the relevant offer year. The web listing must include a summary of the scholarship intent, eligibility criteria for applicants, description of the scholarship benefit, the method of selection, and make the scholarship terms and conditions available to applicants;
  4. notify the proposer that the scholarship listing has been published;
  5. notify Marketing and Communications that a new scholarship has been established and listed.

Reopening Existing Scholarships

(7) Approval to re-open existing scholarships for a new offer year will be submitted to Student Central Scholarship staff at least 5 business days prior to the intended application opening date.

Maintenance

(8) Where practical, scholarships will be advertised by 1 August in the year prior to offer.

(9) Discontinued scholarships will not be relisted for the following offer year, unless otherwise advised.

(10) Where no applications are received, or no suitable recipient can be identified, Student Central Scholarships staff will seek agreement from the relevant funding area / donor to re-open the scholarship for application for an additional four weeks. Student Central Scholarships will update the web listing to accept further applications within 2 days of receiving notice that the relevant funding area or Office of Alumni and Philanthropy that the donor agrees to relist the scholarship.

(11) Scholarships which have not received any eligible applications in an offer year will be highlighted for review as outlined in the Coursework Scholarships Policy.

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Section 4 - Selection

General Principles

(12) Selection of scholarship recipients will:

  1. occur in accordance with one of four selection models, as outlined in this procedure;
  2. will be based on the eligibility criteria outlined in the scholarship terms and conditions;
  3. have approval from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for selection panel requirement (Model C below).

(13) Where an equity assessment is required this will be completed by Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) in accordance with their Access and Scholarship Programs guidelines.

(14) Equity assessments may be considered to determine a specific area of disadvantage (for example, disability) or a combination of overall severity of disadvantage, length of impact, and the number of disadvantages experienced, depending on the scholarship terms and conditions.

(15) Where an application is required, selection of recipients will be completed within six (6) weeks of the application closing date. Where required for selection, the below individual selection processes will be completed:

  1. equity assessments for all applicants will be completed within 10 business days of the application closing date;
  2. shortlisting will be completed within 10 business days of the application closing date, or within 10 days of completing the equity assessment (if this is required) and provided to the relevant Selection Panel Coordinator.
  3. selection panels will notify the Student Central Scholarships staff of the successful applicants and two or more reserve applicants within 10 business days of receipt of the shortlist.

(16) Selection as a recipient does not guarantee that the scholarship will be awarded. Verification that selected recipients meet all requirements of the scholarship will occur before the offer is notified and again before payment is made.

Selection Model A – Selection without application

(17) Model A can be used when an applicant's eligibility or the scholarship can be established from UAC and/or University records and there is sufficient funding to grant funds to all individuals who meet the criteria (for example, all school leavers entering a specific program with a specified high ATAR rank).

(18) Under Model A, Student Central Scholarships staff will identify recipients based on the approved eligibility criteria and a review of required UAC and/or University records.

(19) Where practical, the timing of selection under Model A will be as closely aligned with Admissions offers as possible or completed within 10 days of final admissions offer rounds for the relevant intake period.

Selection Model B – Selection based on application with no panel involvement

(20) Model B can be used when the required documents for an application will demonstrate that all eligibility criteria are met, and sufficient funding is available to support all eligible applicants. Model B can also be used for scholarships made available on a ‘first-in-first-served’ basis. An example is a scholarship for approved semester exchange with an overseas institution, where the application will include a credit agreement and overseas offer to study verified by Student Central Scholarships staff.

(21) Under Model B Student Central Scholarship staff will verify that the documents submitted confirm eligibility for the scholarship.

(22) For Model B, offers will be made within 10 days of the scholarship closing date or on a rolling basis until all funds are allocated, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the scholarship.

Selection Model C – Selection based on application with panel involvement

(23) Under Model C, applications will be received by Student Central Scholarship staff, who will conduct an initial shortlisting of applications. Shortlisting will involve:

  1. excluding any application that does not demonstrate that the eligibility criteria has been met or did not provide required supporting documents;
  2. ranking equity assessments (if relevant to the eligibility criteria) in accordance with this procedure.

(24) Within 20 business days of the application close date, Student Central Scholarships staff will provide the Selection Panel Coordinator with the following:

  1. a summary of shortlisted applications that have met eligibility criteria. This summary will include a column for the selection panel to indicate the selected recipients and reserve recipients and/or scores. The selection summary must be returned to Student Central Scholarship staff at the conclusion of the selection panel’s deliberations;
  2. a copy of each application and the submitted documentation that is relevant to the selection process;
  3. a copy of the scholarship terms and conditions document.

(25) Documents relating to scholarship selection will be provided to the Selection Panel Coordinator.

(26) The Selection Panel Coordinator will arrange for the panel to convene and will confirm details of the selected recipients and reserve candidates to Student Central Scholarship staff within 10 business days of receipt of the summary of shortlisted applications.

(27) The Selection Panel Coordinator will ensure that all panel members are aware of their responsibilities outlined in the Coursework Scholarships Policy and this procedure.

Selection Model D – Selection by third party nomination

(28) Where expressly noted in the approved proposal to establish a scholarship, recipients may be selected by a party external to the University.

(29) Establishment of a Scholarship using this selection model must be approved by the Vice-Chancellor, for example the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Academic Excellence in Year 12.

(30) Where a third party is presenting the scholarship, Student Central Scholarship staff will post the offer letter and certificate within 14 days of receipt of the nomination.

Selection Panel Membership

(31) Selection Panel membership will:

  1. be nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Pro Vice-Chancellors, or their nominees;
  2. include nomination of a member to be the Selection Panel Coordinator;
  3. consist of at least three members;
  4. include an external donor or representative only in instances where a scholarship has a value of $15,000 or more with approval from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic);
  5. in instances where an external donor is a selection panel member, there must be a minimum of two University staff members on the panel.

Selection Panel Requirements

(32) Selection Panel members must declare any Conflict of Interest prior to participating in any decision with regard to selection.  Conflict of interest will be dealt with in accordance with the University's Conflict of Interest policy.

(33) Selection panels must:

  1. achieve a majority decision with regard to selection; or
  2. escalate the selection to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) outlining reasons in instances where a majority decision cannot be reached;
  3. record the decision making process and make this available to Student Central Scholarship staff for purposes of maintaining records;

(34) Selection panel coordinators are responsible for ensuring external panel members are aware of responsibilities and obligations as per the Coursework Scholarships Policy.

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Section 5 - Offer and Acceptance

Verification of Eligibility

(35) Student Central Scholarships staff will verify that the selected recipient meets all criteria as outlined in the scholarship terms and conditions prior to offer. Verification may include, but is not limited to:

  1. receipt and/or acceptance of an admission offer;
  2. enrolment;
  3. any concurrent scholarship offers which may preclude the recipient from receiving further scholarship offers;
  4. academic year of study and/or units completed;
  5. Grade Point Average meets the minimum required standard;
  6. the recipient has achieved the required admission selection rank (inclusive or exclusive of adjustment factors).
  7. that the applicant has established their status as an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person as per the University Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander - Establishing Status within the University Policy.

(36) Ineligible and unsuccessful applicants will receive notice in writing of their application outcome with a brief description of the reasons for not receiving an offer.

Offer of Scholarship

(37) After checking the selected recipient’s eligibility, Student Central Scholarship staff will update relevant student records and issue an offer of the scholarship in writing.

(38) If a selected recipient no longer meets the eligibility criteria an offer will not be made and Student Central Scholarships staff can offer to a reserve candidate.

(39) The scholarship offer shall be sent via email to the email address noted on the scholarship application or a preferred email address indicated in the recipient’s student MyHub account.

(40) The offer of scholarship will include instructions on how to accept the offer and access the Terms and Conditions associated with the scholarship.

Offer Acceptance

(41) The scholarship recipient will have 14 days from the date of offer by which to accept the scholarship.

(42) It is the recipient’s responsibility to ensure that bank account details for scholarship payments are correct at the time of acceptance when prompted in MyHub. Bank account details can be updated at any time by the recipient in the MyHub self service area.

(43) Scholarships that are not accepted within the timeframe specified within this procedure may be offered to reserve candidates, following verification of eligibility.

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Section 6 - Monitoring of Ongoing Eligibility

Ongoing Eligibility

(44) Where a scholarship is subject to semester or annual review, Student Central Scholarship staff will assess the recipient’s ongoing eligibility as outlined in the terms and conditions.

(45) Monitoring of ongoing eligibility will be conducted against the terms and conditions in place at the time of scholarship offer.

Leave of Absence

(46) Scholarship terms and conditions may support a period of leave for up to 12 months if the recipient is taking a leave of absence.

(47) Verification that the recipient continues to meet all relevant eligibility criteria on return to study will occur prior to reinstating the scholarship.

(48) Where the recipient requires leave of absence and the scholarship terms and conditions have no provision for periods of leave, the recipient will forfeit the scholarship.

Cancellation of Ongoing Scholarship

(49) Where it is determined that the recipient of an ongoing scholarship has not met the terms and conditions in place at the time of offer, Student Central Scholarships staff may withdraw the scholarship and cease payment requests for this scholarship.

(50) Student Central Scholarships staff may continue a scholarship in cases where conditions have not been met if:

  1. only one semester of study has been or will be impacted and progress otherwise meets the terms and conditions of the scholarship; and
  2. the recipient has appropriate supports in place with the University for success; and
  3. the business unit / faculty funding the scholarship, or where donor funded the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy, supports the recommendation of Student Central Scholarships staff.

(51) Scholarship recipients deemed ineligible for ongoing payment shall be notified via the email account on record with the University at the time of cancellation.

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Section 7 - Payment

Payment Process

(52) Student Central Scholarships staff will check a recipient is meeting scholarship eligibility relevant to payment (such as fulltime enrolment at census date) and authorise payments as outlined in the terms and conditions for each scholarship.

(53) Authorised payments will be sent to Financial Services who will run the process payments in a timely manner (see “Timing of Payment”).

(54) Payments made will be reconciled against payments requested by Financial Services and Student Central Scholarships staff advised of any errors for reissue of payment.

(55) Student Central Scholarships staff will conduct regular quality assurance checks of payments made.

Method of Payment

(56) Payments may be made as direct deposits to the recipient’s nominated bank account or to other services as outlined in the terms and conditions.

Timing of Payment

(57) Recipients should allow 21 days from the time a scholarship payment is authorised for funds to be available in their nominated bank account.

(58) For scholarships considering individuals’ financial hardship, a proportional payment may be made prior to census; with the student becoming eligible for the remainder of the scholarship payment after the census date has passed.

(59) Requests for payment of scholarships outside of the terms and conditions will not be approved. Recipients in urgent financial need will be referred to Student Support to identify alternate options for financial assistance.

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Section 8 - Withdrawal of Scholarship Offer

(60) Where a scholarship offer was based on incorrect, incomplete or misleading information, any withdrawal of the scholarship must be made on the recommendation of the Senior Manager, Student Administration and supported by the area funding the scholarship.

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Section 9 - Reporting

(61) Student Central will report annually to the Admissions and Recruitment Steering Group on the following:

  1. the number of applications and offers accepted for all scholarships; and
  2. scholarships available in each offer year.
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Section 10 - Roles and Responsibilities

(62) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) has overall ownership and responsibility for Scholarships and will nominate a steering group to review scholarships annually in accordance with Coursework Scholarships Policy. Review findings will be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and the resultant recommendations implemented by the relevant area responsible for the scholarship(s).

(63) Any Faculty, School, Division or Unit proposing new scholarships have a responsibility to:

  1. ensure that new scholarships align with the purpose outlined in the Coursework Scholarships Policy and can be administered in accordance with any relevant legislation;
  2. ensure that Scholarship Proposals are approved by an appropriate delegated authority;
  3. ensure that approved proposals are submitted to Student Central Scholarships staff in accordance with this procedure;
  4. commit to events which celebrate our scholars and recognise donors and/or their representatives where relevant.

(64) Student Central Scholarships staff have a responsibility to:

  1. provide administrative support for the efficient implementation of this procedure;
  2. make approved scholarships available for application and/or award including publication of eligibility criteria, selection method, and terms and conditions;
  3. administer all student-oriented aspects of scholarships, including verification of ongoing eligibility, withdrawal, approval of requests for periods of leave, ensuring recipients meet terms and conditions via checks of enrolment, internal transcripts, study load, and other relevant student records;
  4. notify funding areas when a recipient’s scholarship has been withdrawn and consult with the area funding the scholarship where there is a recommendation for special consideration;
  5. support the application, selection, and award process including shortlisting of eligible applicants based on quantitative criteria;
  6. maintain a list of successful scholarship recipients and make these available for Scholars Week events and other presentation where consent is provided;
  7. ensure scholarship terms and conditions are being met before payment;
  8. maintain scholarship records in accordance with the Records and Information Management Policy;
  9. manage enquiries from scholarship applicants and recipients.

(65) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Pro Vice-Chancellors (or nominees) have a responsibility to:

  1. nominate a Selection Panel Coordinator and Selection Panel Members for scholarships.

(66) The Selection Panel Coordinator has a responsibility to:

  1. review the documents provided for selection and any donor briefing notes provided by Office of Alumni and Philanthropy;
  2. assist in arrangements for the Selection Panel deliberations, including arranging interview or audition times and locations where required;
  3. ensure scholarship selection outcomes are communicated to Student Central Scholarships staff within the specified timeframe.

(67) Selection Panel Members have a responsibility to:

  1. ensure that scholarship applications are considered against the eligibility criteria, terms and conditions of the specific scholarship;
  2. maintain records of scholarship selection and make these available to Student Central Scholarships staff;
  3. notify the Selection Panel Coordinator and/or Student Central Scholarship staff of selected recipients within 2 weeks of receipt of a shortlist;
  4. maintain their compliance with privacy obligations as outlined in the University’s Privacy Management Plan in the use and management of personal information of applicants and recipients.

(68) The Office of Alumni and Philanthropy is responsible for:

  1. fundraising for new and existing donor scholarships;
  2. advising Student Central Scholarship staff when donor funds are available for the scholarship to be advertised;
  3. donor stewardship;
  4. notifying the Selection Panel Coordinator and members of the inclusion of an external member (e.g. Donor).

(69) Financial Services has a responsibility to:

  1. ensure that scholarship funds are deposited into the nominated recipient’s bank account upon advice from Student Central Scholarship staff;
  2. conduct reconciliation of scholarship payments;
  3. provide the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy with initial estimates of annual investment earnings on scholarship funds in September and actual earnings in January so as to predict and confirm availability of funds;
  4. provide the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy with donor financial reports on scholarship funds for acquittal and stewardship purposes.

(70) Marketing and Communications has a responsibility to:

  1. conduct annual marketing campaigns for scholarships;
  2. advise other relevant University marketing areas of new scholarships.