Action on reconciliation
Students supported by our 2018 program
Indigenous Scholarship Program

As proud supporters of reconciliation, and committed to Closing the Gap nationally, we created the Indigenous Scholarship Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying at either university or TAFE, or towards an apprenticeship or traineeship in 2019. The scholarships are designed to help with the costs of study, including course fees, accommodation costs and textbooks.

Our scholarship program is administered in partnership with the Community Enterprise Foundation. This is the second year the program has run.

To find out more about the program, including whether you are eligible, read more below.

How are the scholarships funded?

Community Sector Banking funds the scholarship program directly from its profits.

How are the scholarships governed?

Community Sector Banking manages the scholarship program, and an Indigenous Scholarship Advisory Committee (made up of representatives from Community Sector Banking, and Indigenous customers) determines that year’s successful applicants. The scholarships are administered and dispersed through Bendigo Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation, in partnership with Community Sector Banking.


For enquiries regarding our Indigenous Scholarship Program, please contact the Community Enterprise Foundation on 1300 304 541 or email

To read our 2017-2019 Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, click here.

Stay updated on our scholarships
Receive updates on our scholarship program including important dates, eligibility criteria and how to apply.
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2019 Indigenous Scholarships - apply now
Scholarship categories

Our scholarship program is designed to support students through tertiary study by assisting with the cost. The scholarships are available across four categories:

  • Category 1: 2 x $10,000 to study at any Australian university
  • Category 2: 1 x $10,000 to study at the University of Wollongong
  • Category 3: 2 x $5,000 to study at TAFE (excl. apprenticeships and traineeships)
  • Category 4: 4 x $5,000 to study towards a TAFE apprenticeship or traineeship at an approved Registered Training Organisation

Applications for our 2019 program open 3 December, 2018 and close at midnight AEDT 29 January 2019. Sign up below to receive updates.

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Here are some popular questions. Still can’t find what you’re after? Contact the Community Enterprise Foundation at

Yes. This scholarship is only available to people who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studying in 2019.

Category 1:
- Studying full-time in 2019 (in an approved Australian course)
- First year undergraduate in 2019 (first attendance at an Australian university)
- Residing in Australia while undertaking study

Category 2:
- Studying full-time in 2019 either on campus or online at the University of Wollongong (in an approved Australian course)
- First year undergraduate in 2019 (first attendance at an Australian university)
- Residing in Australia while undertaking study

Category 3:
- Be enrolled (or offered a place) in an eligible course (see below) of at least 10 weeks duration (or part-time equivalent)
- Eligible courses include Certificates I, II, III or IV, diplomas, advanced diplomas or associate degrees
- Residing in Australia while undertaking study
- You are still eligible if you have successfully completed study at university or TAFE previously
- Apprenticeships and traineeships are not eligible for Category 3

Category 4:
- Be enrolled in TAFE or working in an approved Registered Training Organisation (RTO) for the duration of the apprenticeship or traineeship
- Residing in Australia while undertaking study
- You are still eligible if you have successfully completed study at university, TAFE or approved RTOs previously

The scholarship can cover accommodation costs and/or expenses directly related to study. For example, course costs, study related materials and equipment, text books, tutoring, internet fees, or study relocation costs.

Successful university recipients will receive scholarship payments at the start of each year for two years. Students studying in trimesters will receive funding twice per year. Category 3 & 4 recipients will receive their one-off payment prior to their course/training commencement date.

Successful recipients will need to provide evidence of their expenses at the end of each year (such as receipts or transcripts). You will also be asked to share some of your experiences with us, including how the scholarship has helped you.

The scholarships are only available to students studying in 2019. Check back in for our 2020 scholarships next year.

Following an intial eligibility assessment by our partners at the Community Enterprise Foundation (CEF), a selection committee made up of Community Sector Banking staff, the Chair of our Reconciliation Action Committee, previous recipients and Indigenous customers will assess applications based on merit, need, the extent to which the scholarship will create impact in the student's life and previous involvement with the applicant's local community. Successful recipients will be notified over the phone by our CEO.

Our 2017-2019 Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan can be found by clicking here.

Please contact the Community Enterprise Foundation if you have any other questions about the application process.

Our 2018 recipients

We’re delighted to announce the first recipients of Community Sector Banking’s Indigenous Scholarship Program. We were blown away by the calibre of the applicants, receiving over 100 applications from around Australia. For feedback on unsuccessful applications, download the info pack below.

Category A
$10,000 ($5,000 over two years) to study at any Australian university

Erica Alchin

Erica will study a Bachelor of Health and Rehabilitation Science at Charles Sturt University (Albury/Wodonga). Erica showed academic promise from an early age, completing HSC maths a year early. She loves data and statistics and plans to join the Army Reserves before going onto Masters of Public Health.

Category B
$10,000 ($5,000 over two years) to study at the University of Wollongong

Kellie Sampson

Kellie will study a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Wollongong. Kellie has shown great dedication to her studies – she gained Cert. III in Aged Care and Cert. IV in Nursing while juggling two jobs and caring for her three children. Kellie, already an enrolled nurse, wants to become a registered nurse and deliver Indigenous health programs, and raise awareness about Indigenous culture in the health sector.

Category C
2 x $5,000 to study at TAFE

Mafi Kailahi

Mafi will study a Diploma in Community Services through TAFE Digital. Mafi has a Cert. IV in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care, and has worked across retail, government and education. Mafi wants to go on to study a Master of Public Health and work with disadvantaged communities.

Kaihla Gibson

Kaihla will study a Diploma in Mental Health at TAFE SA Currently an Aboriginal Community Engagement Worker, the 27-year-old plans on enrolling in nursing, and gaining advanced degrees in perinatal mental health.

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