by Jaspreet Sidhu
Western Australia universities have stepped up to provide financial aid to international students.
Curtin University is operating an emergency food relief program and has set up food parcels to be delivered to students unable to leave the house. Meanwhile, Murdoch University has announced its Student Assistance Fund, allowing full-time students to apply for up to $1, 000.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant international students are in a vulnerable position, a spokesperson for international student advocacy group Study Perth said.
Part of the problem for international students is that government assistance, such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments, have not been extended to international students .
International students make up one in 50 people in Australia.
“International student enrolments are a key part of our export industry,” leader of the WA opposition Liza Harvey says.
Following the steps of other states, StudyPerth has established StudyPerth Crisis Relief (SPCR), a program to address the acute needs of international students in Western Australia affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions.
A second year international student at Murdoch University, Miss Amanda Woo says that the global pandemic has taken a toll on her finances.
“I’ve had my hours at work cut, so that’s been a huge source of stress,” Miss Woo said.
Murdoch University is also providing struggling students with funds to ease the shift into online learning.
“This definitely helps, especially because we can’t apply for Centerlink assistance,” said Miss Amanda Woo.
Curtin University has also released similar initiatives to support students facing financial difficulties.
As many students face uncertainty with housing, Curtin University has released a housing support bursary of $1,500.