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REVIEW OF UNDERGRADUATE AND HONOURS SCHOLARSHIPS

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REVIEW OF UNDERGRADUATE AND HONOURS SCHOLARSHIPS Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                           1202/2002


                       THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

                         REVIEW OF SCHOLARSHIPS
                   REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE
                UNDERGRADUATE AND HONOURS SUB-COMMITTEES

1. Summary

The ANU’s National Undergraduate Scholarship and Honours Scholarship schemes continue to
support the strategic aim of attracting the very best students to study at the University. However,
additional measures are needed to realise the ANU’s goal to be genuinely the national university,
both in terms of national recruitment and international reputation.

A more consolidated approach is needed if scholarships are to support specific initiatives that are
important to the strategic interests of the University. This should include greater consideration of
the University’s strategic priorities with regard to scholarships in particular disciplines and areas,
and rethinking the University’s approach to research-training scholarships in the light of the
introduction of research-intensive undergraduate degrees.

The ANU needs to restructure the nature and distribution of its scholarships and accommodation
bursaries to address the needs of groups perceived to be disadvantaged and to respond to the
changing patterns and needs of student learning.

Responsibility for the management of all aspects of undergraduate and Honours scholarships
should be clarified.

List of recommendations:

1. The ANU National Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme and ANU Honours Scholarships
   should be maintained in their current form, with current levels of support.
2. The additional “matched-funds” Honours scholarships provided in 2002 should remain at
   current levels until the end of 2003. The success of the initiative should be evaluated once
   2002 honours results and 2003 postgraduate research-degree enrolments are known.
3. The University should consider the feasibility of offering a National Achievement
   Scholarship, or a guaranteed place and travel grant, to the highest-achieving Year 12 student
   in each eligible school in Australia.
4. Additional scholarships should be made available for international students. These should be
   provided in disciplines in which the ANU has a strategic international profile.
5. Faculty Deans, and School/Department/Centre Heads, should be entrusted with ensuring that
   area-based scholarships are promoted, awarded and managed in the strategic interests of the
   University.
6. The University should review its research-training pathways so as to enable students on
   research-intensive undergraduate degrees to access research-training scholarships earlier in
   their academic careers.
7. The ANU should revise its provision of scholarships, awards and bursaries to reflect the
   changing needs of students, in particular those from groups which could be seen as
   disadvantaged.
8. An award of small value should be offered to students who volunteer as mentors.



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9. The material nature of existing scholarships should be made more flexible to respond to
    changing patterns of student learning.
10. The DVC (Education) should review coordination mechanisms for the development, award,
    management and promotion of undergraduate and Honours scholarships, in particular to
    achieve better coordination with postgraduate scholarships.


2. Background

In May 2002 the Education Committee initiated this review of scholarships with three terms of
reference. These were to:

    1. Review current ANU policy, provision and allocation procedures for scholarships for:
       • Graduate research/coursework programs
       • Honours programs
       • Undergraduate programs

    2. Relate these to the University’s strategic goals, academic directions, quality guidelines
       and enrolment targets.

    3. Review the promotion/advertising of ANU scholarships in relation to our academic
       marketing and demographic projections.

Three sub-committees were established, to examine the scholarship provision in the three areas
outlined in Term of Reference 1.

The review received a number of submissions from staff and students of the University. These
are listed in the Appendix. The sub-committees met with several of the key areas of the ANU
responsible for the administration and management of scholarships. In addition, data was
provided concerning numbers of scholarships, the academic record of scholarship holders, and
more general data regarding recruitment to the ANU in general.

In the course of the review, it became apparent that the issues relevant to Honours and
undergraduate scholarships were closely aligned. It was therefore deemed sensible to draw
together these two areas and suggest a single set of revisions and new initiatives.

3. Membership of the Sub-Committees

Membership of the Undergraduate Sub-Committee was:

        Professor Malcolm Gillies, Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Education), Chair
        Professor Tim Brown, Dean, Faculty of Science
        Mr Selwyn Cornish, Dean of Students
        Dr Patrick Guinness, Sub-Dean, Faculty of Arts
        Dr Jonathan Powles, NITA1
        Dr Peta Spender, Faculty of Law
        Mr Andrew Thompson, student

1
 In July 2002, Dr Powles was seconded to the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), from
where he continued to assist the work of the review as a member of the secretariat.

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Membership of the Honours Sub-Committee was:
      Professor Malcolm Gillies, Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Education), Chair
      Professor John Hearn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
      Mr Selwyn Cornish, Dean of Students
      Professor Mark Harrison, Director, RSES
      Dr John Hooper, Dean, Graduate School
      Ms Heather Nash, Deputy Executive Officer, Faculty of Arts
      Dr Ian Proudfoot, Asian Studies

Mr Chris Reid, Executive Officer to the DVC (Education), was secretary to both sub-committees.


4. Scholarships and the strategic goals of the University.

Preparing Ourselves states that the primary educational objective of the ANU is “to become the
university of educational choice for the top students locally, nationally and internationally by
offering a unique range of research-led degree programs.” This statement usefully articulates the
dimensions in which undergraduate and Honours scholarships can assist the university in
achieving this strategic goal.


“The top students”: the importance of merit in the selection of scholars.

Almost without exception, submissions to the review presupposed that the primary purpose of
scholarships was to attract the best students to the University. Certainly, the substantial provision
of a range of scholarships awarded purely on academic merit was seen to be entirely consistent
with the mission of the ANU.

The review committees considered at length whether or not our current scholarship provision was
achieving this aim to the greatest extent possible. Were the nation’s best students in fact coming
to study here? Statistics presented to the committees demonstrated that, in the main, scholarship
recipients at undergraduate level were consistent in the high quality of their academic
performance.

For instance, of the 29 recipients of ANU National Undergraduate Scholarships in 1997, 21 have
received a first-class Honours degree, eight have yet to complete a component of a combined
degree, and only three completed their studies with less than first-class Honours. Eleven received
university medals.2

Data concerning Honours scholarships is harder to evaluate, given the explicit aims of these
scholarships not only to attract the best students, but also to encourage students to transfer to
Honours at the ANU from pass degrees at other institutions, and to retain these students in
research degrees. In 2002, 85 Honours scholarships were awarded, including 30 centrally-funded
scholarships and 55 funded jointly by the University and local areas as part of the new initiative
to increase research-degree recruitment.


2
 Data provided to the review by Andrea Firth, Prizes and Undergraduate Scholarships Office, SASS.
Figures given for results do not total 29, owing to the fact that many scholarship holders pursued combined
degrees.

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The breakdown by discipline of the 85 Honours scholarships was as follows:

           Arts                             14
           Asian Studies                    7
           Economics and Commerce           8
           Engineering and IT               9
           Law                              6
           Science                          35
           Creative Arts                    6

The large number of science scholarships reflects the fact that 19 of the new “matched funds”
scholarships came from the IAS.

Encouragingly, 27 of these 85 students transferred from other institutions. Even more
encouragingly, they came from all over the country, and from New Zealand, the USA and
Canada. None came from Sydney universities.

However, the total number of scholarship applications from new students coming to the ANU to
complete an Honours year was 48. 27 of these (58%) were awarded scholarships, as opposed to
33% of continuing ANU students. This raises the question as to whether we might already be
hitting the maximum numbers who might be prepared and qualified to transfer in this way. It
remains to be seen how many continue to research degrees at the ANU.3

The amount of central funds made available to be matched by local areas in the 2002 Honours
scholarship initiative seems to be about right. Local areas, by and large, seemed able to find
matching funding without great difficulty. The ratio between internal and external applicants for
these additional places (around 2:1) remained broadly comparable with that for existing ANU
Honours Scholarships. Further evaluation of the success of this initiative needs to take place after
these students’ results, and their take-up of research places, are known.

The ANU’s provision of scholarships based purely on academic merit is slightly more substantial
than that of other comparable universities, in terms of both number and value of the awards.4
This seems appropriate, as the ANU needs to provide more incentive than the Group of Eight
metropolitan universities to overcome the demographic and geographic obstacles to student
mobility.

In summary, the ANU National Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme and the ANU Honours
Scholarships seem to support, in their current form, the strategic objective of attracting the very
best students to study at the ANU.

Recommendation 1: The ANU National Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme and ANU
Honours Scholarships should be maintained in their current form, with current levels of
support.

Recommendation 2: The additional “matched-funds” Honours scholarships provided in
2002 should remain at current levels until the end of 2003. The success of the initiative


3
    From submission 4, Andrea Firth, Prizes and Undergraduate Scholarships Office, SASS
4
    Submission 1, Jonathan Powles, NITA

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should be evaluated once 2002 honours results and 2003 postgraduate research-degree
enrolments are known.


“Locally, Nationally and Internationally”: scholarships and the roles of the ANU

The committee considered whether or not the ANU is sufficiently strategic in targeting interstate
recruitment through its scholarship provision. For instance, the University of Melbourne offers
more scholarships, of twice the value, to interstate students than it does to Victorian students.

However, it is also important that the ANU recruits as many of the best ACT students as possible.
There is evidence to suggest that many of these students were being attracted to study at other
universities through scholarship offers.5 The ANU needs to remain competitive in the local
market. It would therefore be inadvisable to take any steps that would reduce the number or
value of scholarships available to ACT students.

Nevertheless, the ANU is seeking to make genuine its role as Australia’s National University in
the area of undergraduate education. To do this, it needs substantially to increase enrolments by
students from beyond the ACT and local NSW (including Sydney). In 2002, new undergraduate
students came from the following areas:

ACT                                   1653              Wagga – Wentworth          76
Queanbeyan                            102               Wollongong                 17
Braidwood – Snowy River               31                Lithgow – Gilgandra        59
Nowra – Bega                          32                NT                         13
Goulburn – Young                      44                QLD                        34
Gundagai – Tumbarumba                 10                SA                         15
Bankstown – Sutherland                10                Tasmania                   20
Blacktown – Hawkesbury                34                Victoria                   120
Drummoyne – Prospect                  12                WA                         16
Fairfield – Camden                    8                 Overseas                   404
Gosford – Wyong                       10                Other                      10
Mittagong – Moss Vale                 7
Newcastle – Scone                     17                Total                      2890
North Sydney – Palm Beach             66
Nyngan – Broken Hill                  3
Sydney City – La Perouse              28
Taree – Moree                         39

A summary of student origins by state is provided in Fig. 1.

Scholarships may play only a small role in determining the national profile, and hence
recruitment, at the level of undergraduate education. Currently, the ANU National
Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme reserves some places for students from each state. However,
this is on too small a scale to substantially impact on nationwide recruitment. To expand and
modify the scheme in a way that significantly discriminates in favour of more distant students
would diminish the status of the NUS as an award based on absolute academic merit.

Perhaps another approach is needed to articulate the ANU’s national role through the provision of
scholarships. In Western Australia, the UWA cements its position as the destination of first

5
    Specific cases reported to the Committee by University officers.

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choice for many Western Australian school-leavers by guaranteeing a place to one high-achieving
student at every high school in the state, even before Year 12 results are determined.

If it proved financially feasible, the ANU might consider a similar scheme on a national level,
offering to the highest-achieving student in every Year 12 school or college in Australia a place at
the ANU, supported by a modest scholarship (perhaps half that awarded to ANU National
                                          Fig. 1: Australian
                                           student origins


                                             9%       6%

                                                               9%


                                                                                ACT
                                                                    5%
                                                                                Local NSW
                                                                    4%          Sydney Region
                                                                                Other NSW
                                                                                Victoria
                                                                                Other states


                                    67%




Undergraduate Scholars). The existing “National Achievement Scholarship”, worth $5,000 p.a.
in total, seems a title that might most appropriately reflect this award for excellence relative to
opportunity. Such a revamped “National Achievement Scholarships” scheme would certainly
strengthen our claim to be the genuine national university.

Such students are achieving maximally in relation to local opportunity. Research would support
the assumption that such students are highly likely to achieve in an upper Honours band over their
undergraduate program(s). As such, there would be a high likelihood of them progressing to
postgraduate study.

The scheme would not be as expensive as might first seem to be the case. There are around 2,500
Year 12 providers in the country, of which only around 1000 have sufficient students and Year 12
course offerings to make such a scholarship genuinely competitive.6 Only a small number of
students would in fact take up the offer – probably overall less than 10%, given that by definition
many of these students would have their pick of universities, and be in the running for the
existing scholarships they offer. This would probably vary according to distance, according to
the following approximate analysis:




6
 Precise criteria would be needed to define eligible schools, and to identify “the highest-achieving student”
where, for instance, several students share the highest UAI.

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Location                   Number of           Eligible schools*    Takeup rate*    Number of
                           schools                                                  scholars
ACT                        47                  18                   30-50%          6-9
Local NSW                  104                 47                   15-25%          7-12
Sydney                     497                 150                  8-12%           12-15
Other NSW                  256                 100                  5-10%           5-10
Victoria                   567                 225                  4-8%            9-18
Other states               1009                400                  3-5%            12-20
Totals                     2480                940                  5-10%           51-84

The scheme would require an investment in publicity for it to function effectively. In particular,
the individual schools would need to be encouraged to advise their best students to place the
ANU at the top of their preferences so as to be eligible for the scholarship.

Based on these take-up rates, a $5000 award per student, and administration and publicity costs,
the scheme would cost $250,000 - $400,000 in the first year. This would rise to a maximum of
$1.1 million after four years, taking into account attrition and some reduction in numbers owing
to competition from other universities. The cost of the scheme could also be somewhat reduced
by offering the students incentives other than cash (see recommendation 9).

However, there would be considerable benefits to the ANU’s program of national recruitment.
Embedding the process of selection at the level of the individual school would raise awareness
within schools of the ANU as a university destination in general, and of our specific degree
offerings. It is likely that scholarships awarded on this basis would function as an aid to
recruitment more effectively than those awarded purely on the basis of the UAI.

Of course, the student would have to have achieved the UAI required for entry into the course of
his or her choice, and the University might require a minimum UAI of, say, 90 for the
Scholarship to be awarded. Likewise, the student would have to have applied for a place at the
ANU before an offer could be made, therefore considerable publicity and liaison with schools
will be necessary to ensure the scheme succeeds administratively.

An alternative, less costly proposal, is to make an offer of a guaranteed place in an Honours
program and a suitable travel grant to each top-achieving Year 12 student.

Recommendation 3: The University should consider the feasibility of offering a National
Achievement Scholarship, or a guaranteed place and travel grant, to the highest-achieving
Year 12 student in each eligible school in Australia.

The ANU lags behind some comparable universities in its provision of scholarships to
international students. Both the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne offer 50
or more scholarships to the most talented international students, consisting of a percentage
reduction in fees payable. The ANU offers international students five full fee waivers, and
around ten locally funded scholarships of varying value.




*
    Broad estimates only

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Submissions to the review from several research schools identified the need for more central
funding of scholarships for international students.7

At first sight, the provision of scholarships to international students on even a moderate scale
would seem to reduce the value of international student fees as a source of revenue. However,
the importance of these students, once they are graduates, as ambassadors for the University in
their home countries cannot be overestimated. The ANU needs to increase its international
profile, and an important means to achieve this is to ensure that its international graduates are in
positions of influence.

To achieve this, we need not simply to recruit international students, but to recruit the best
international students.

As representatives of the University, ANU’s international graduates should reflect our strengths.
Scholarships for international students should be targeted towards areas in which we can
capitalise on the University’s international reputation. While recruitment in general must respond
to student demand, the disciplines in which we offer scholarships should be those in which the
ANU has demonstrated excellence.8 In this way, the best students will be brought together with
the best educational provision.

Recommendation 4: Additional scholarships should be made available for international
students. These should be provided in disciplines in which the ANU has a strategic
international profile.


5. Scholarships and the academic directions of the University.

One function of scholarships might be to pinpoint and publicise those of the ANU’s courses
which are excellent, distinctive, or crucial to our identity and strategic direction.

For instance, in their submission to the review, the Faculty of Asian Studies recommended that
the University support its “ANU Asia Undergraduate Scholarships” proposal. Amongst other
benefits, this would seek to publicise nationally programs at the ANU (in this case, certain Asian
languages) that are not widely available elsewhere in Australia.9

Should this principle of discipline-targeted scholarships be addressed across the university?

“A unique range of degree programs”: distinctive and specialised scholarships

The ANU already has a very large number of scholarships and other awards offered in specific
disciplines, usually funded by endowments or bequests, often matched by central funds. These
have developed over time, and among other things represent a marvellous testimony to the
ANU’s relations with its alumni, industry, and other individuals and groups in the national
community. These scholarships, bursaries and prizes are usually awarded at the level of the local
area in which they were created.


7
  Submission 3, John Curtin School of Medical Research, and submission 5, Research School of Pacific and
Asian Studies.
8
  Obviously, the specific identification of these areas of excellence falls outside the remit of this Review.
9
  Submission 10, Faculty of Asian Studies.

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The administration of these scholarships is largely a matter of cooperation between local areas
and the Prizes and Undergraduate Scholarships Office.

In many ways, it is entirely appropriate that these scholarships are partly managed and awarded at
departmental, faculty, school or centre level. Usually, these places are where the disciplinary
expertise is located to evaluate the academic merit, and value to the university, of the applicants
and the award. Publicity is inexpensive and easily managed (on a small scale) at local level.

On the other hand, there are clearly some problems with this approach, in terms of both procedure
and strategic benefit. One submission to the review identifies

        the confusion or reluctance of some schools/faculties/academic areas to take on the
        stewardship of scholarships in their disciplines. The major failing is not making an
        award at all, usually because the area concerned had either forgotten or was not certain if
        it was up to them to take the initiative.10

Local areas often lack the resources to publicise the award at national level, both to attract
applicants, and to celebrate their success. Management at local level prevents a strategic
approach, targeting the awards (even within discipline boundaries) towards those specific areas
that it is in the interests of the University to promote. Local oversight also creates the tendency
for the award to be made to that budget-area’s own applicants or existing students. This does not
maximise the potential for new recruitment, or even acknowledge that specific disciplinary
expertise is in many cases spread widely across the University’s many budget areas.

One possible compromise between central and local management that may, in the long run, prove
effective is for the National Institutes to manage undergraduate and Honours scholarships. Such
a development would parallel a similar approach that could be taken with postgraduate research
scholarships. However, the National Institutes currently lack the staff for detailed administration
of this sort, and may simply exacerbate the current problems with administration at local levels by
imposing another level of management.

The simplest current solution is to ensure that Deans of Faculties, and heads of other university
areas that award scholarships, are explicitly entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that local
scholarships are fully utilised for publicity, promotion and recruitment purposes. Discipline-
specific scholarships should be augmented by local and central funds, on a case-by-case basis,
where this is in the strategic interests of the university. In particular, the development of new
scholarships should be aligned with the university’s educational goals, and Deans should ensure
that this is the case.

Recommendation 5: Faculty Deans, and School/Department/Centre Heads, should be
entrusted with ensuring that area-based scholarships are promoted, awarded and managed
in the strategic interests of the University.

“Research-led degree programs”: scholarships and research pathways.

One of the explicit educational aims of the ANU is to integrate genuine research activity with the
undergraduate curriculum. This is done in many ways, most obviously in the insistence that all
academic teaching staff at the ANU are active researchers. The inquiry-learning initiative seeks

10
  Submission 6, confidential. This submission was not from an individual, but from an area of the
university well placed to make such an evaluation.

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to embed research processes and methods across the curriculum as a whole. Most recently, the
PhB degree has been introduced to fast track the research development of the most able
undergraduates, in the first instance in science. How can scholarships assist in enabling high-
achieving students quickly access research training?

Several submissions to the review identify increased support for Honours scholarships as an
important answer to this question.11 On the other hand, some argue that Honours scholarships are
an important recognition of undergraduate excellence, and regret the easy equation of Honours
with research training.12

This dissonance reflects the different conceptions and models of Honours across the University.
Regardless, the simple increase in the number or size of Honours scholarships may well better
support students on their path to research training, but it would not allow them to encounter
research training more quickly.

A possible means of achieving this aim through scholarships is too radical to fall within the remit
of this review, as it would involve a major reconsideration of the ANU’s policy on student
progression. The PhB already provides a model, as PhB students are able to overload their mix of
coursework and independent research, and accelerate their progression so as to graduate with
Honours after three or three-and-a-half years.

Other possible structures exist that might allow the best undergraduate students to progress to a
research-training degree, such as a one- or one-and-a-half year M.Phil, after three years of
undergraduate study. As with “fast-track” PhB students, such students would be eligible for
APAs and other research-training scholarships from their fourth, rather than fifth, year of tertiary
education. Such arrangements would need to comply with DEST guidelines on eligibility for
RTS places – currently, a degree with honours is typically required.

Recommendation 6: The University should review its research-training pathways so as to
enable students on research-intensive undergraduate degrees to access research-training
scholarships earlier in their academic careers.


6. Scholarships and quality guidelines, enrolment targets and funding mechanisms.

The fact that this review of scholarships takes place while the government is conducting its
"“Higher Education at the Crossroads” review needs to be taken into account. Depending on the
outcome of the government’s review, the ANU’s policy on scholarships may need to be radically
revisited. For instance, were the government to introduce learning entitlements (“vouchers”)
rather than fund students directly, scholarships could be provided to make up the difference
between the commonwealth learning entitlement and the cost of the course. Alternatively, if the
government were to allow widespread fee deregulation, the government itself recognizes that
there would need to be some form of Commonwealth Scholarship scheme to enable the very best
students to access the best higher education. How the ANU’s scholarships might articulate with
such a Commonwealth scheme is currently unclear.

Equity access scholarships

11
   Submission 3, John Curtin School of Medical Research, and submission 5, Research School of Pacific
and Asian Studies.
12
   Submission 2, James Stellios, Faculty of Law.

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Nevertheless, it is clear that the ANU’s success in enabling access for higher education for certain
equity groups – for instance, indigenous students, students from lower socioeconomic
backgrounds, and students from distant regions – will remain one of the key performance
indicators on which the quality of its educational provision will be judged. As the national
university, the ANU has a clear obligation to be accessible to all Australians with the academic
potential to benefit from the education it provides.

The ANU has four scholarships of $3,000 each for academically-qualified students from equity
access groups, as part of the Group of Eight Equity and Merit Scholarship scheme. Is this
provision enough to meet that obligation?

Currently, much of the assistance provision directed towards equity access is in the form of
accommodation bursaries provided by the University and, to an extent, by colleges. This is a
very appropriate type of provision, as the ANU’s location means that meeting the cost of
accommodation is a more significant issue for potential students than is the case with many other
universities.

The nature of both student accommodation, and of students’ residential needs, has changed
significantly since many of the ANU’s existing scholarships and bursaries were introduced.
Many factors, most significant being the increased amount of part-time employment undertaken
by most students, have led to students seeking a wider range of accommodation: communal and
individual, on-campus and off-campus, catered and self-catered. The broader range of these
needs is not currently being met by the University through the way it provides support for
disadvantaged students.

Recommendation 7: The ANU should revise its provision of scholarships, awards and
bursaries to reflect the changing needs of students, in particular those from groups which
could be seen as disadvantaged.

One of the most significant elements in the retention of students from disadvantaged backgrounds
is the level of support they receive from the university community. This is reflected both in
national statistics and in submissions to this review.13

The University provides a wide range of student support services that are well resourced and of
very high quality. Study skills, counselling, student accommodation guidance, and targeted
support such as provided to indigenous and international students are examples. Services
provided by the Students’ Association, PARSA and ISSANU are also extremely instrumental in
ensuring that the ANU community as a whole supports all its students.

However, important support for students with particular needs comes from other students, who
offer knowledge, advice and guidance in an organic and immediate fashion. The University has
begun to recognize the value of such mentoring, and has accordingly introduced a range of
schemes to assist mutual student support. Programs such as SIGN have healthy numbers of
students volunteering to be designated mentors, simply for the experience they gain. The ANU
can encourage such initiatives by offering a small financial incentive for students to participate.

13
  For instance, the “Crossroads” review paper on indigenous participation in higher education highlights
the importance of university support and mentoring in retaining indigenous students. Submission 7, from a
student, Bronwyn Wilkes, stresses the value of the support and mentoring she received from the University
while she was a scholarship student.

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There was a degree of debate as to what form and value such an incentive might take. Something
around the level of the value of the GSF was thought to be appropriate – that is, $200-250,
perhaps in the form of book vouchers. It was also stressed that the award should be retrospective
to reward completed student participation in the mentoring scheme, to avoid half-hearted students
signing up for the scheme simply to access the award up-front.

Recommendation 8: An award of small value should be offered to students who volunteer as
mentors.

Changing patterns of study and enrolment.

The extant provision of scholarships at the ANU is based on a model student of yesteryear. He
entered higher education directly from Year 12 at an Australian school, did not need to engage in
a significant amount of part-time work, and lived with his parents or in a college or hall. His
most significant personal expenditure for his study itself was the cost of textbooks.
Appropriately, the best such students were offered money and/or subsidised accommodation as a
reward for academic excellence.

The circumstances of students in higher education have changed since our approach to the nature
and purpose of scholarships has been significantly reviewed. Nationally, a greater proportion of
students is made up of mature students, and many of these are parents. More students are from
overseas, and the majority of Australian students are now female. Many more students are
working, often for a much greater proportion of their available time. Developments in
information technology have resulted in radically different patterns of study – less of a
requirement to be physically present, and a much greater requirement to be able to access
computers and the Internet.

Perhaps the way in which the ANU constructs and awards scholarships needs to respond to these
changes. A great variety of material benefits can be offered to students in addition to or in lieu of
money or accommodation. These include such things as IT or other equipment, free or subsidised
travel, and child-care. The University might also wish to consider offering employment of
various kinds to students, as a form of scholarship. This would provide some financial support
for their studies that benefits both parties, and would accommodate to the greatest possible extent
the tension between “work” and “study” that is so much a feature of modern student life.

One issue here that must be taken into consideration is the fact that all material items given to
students receiving Youth Allowance is assessed by Centrelink as income. Also, some of the
students who are most in need are those not on Youth Allowance who have limited parental
support and are working almost full time while studying. These factors must be carefully
assessed when determining the most efficient and beneficial distribution of access funds and other
material support for students in need.

Recommendation 9: The material nature of existing scholarships should be made more
flexible to respond to changing patterns of student learning.


Promotion, marketing and management of scholarships.

Many of the submissions referred to the excellent work done by ANU staff in the management of
all aspects of scholarships, citing the importance of mentoring and guidance provided in

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Undergraduate and Honours Scholarships Review Report
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maximizing the benefit of the scholarship to their academic progress.14 Such praise seems
equally applicable to all the various individuals and bodies involved in the management of NUS
and Honours scholarships at the University.

The submissions did express some concern about structural and procedural issues to do with the
management of scholarships. In the main, these were to do with coordination. The timing of
stages in the scholarships processes, the way in which documentation (such as references) was
requested and provided, and the difficulty in accessing consolidated publicity information were
all areas in which greater consistency was seen to be desirable.

In particular, the lack of clear and consolidated scholarship information on the ANU web pages
was a cause for concern both to review committee members and in submissions made to the
review.15 However, it was noted that the recent introduction of a dedicated SASS website would
vastly improve web access to scholarship information, and indeed this began to take place during
the term of the review.

Historically, responsibility for various aspects of scholarships has rested with SASS, the
University Awards Committee, the Development Office, Public Affairs, and with local academic
areas of the University. These areas variously deal with the funding, publicity, award, policy and
management of scholarships. Possibilities may exist for the rationalisation of these procedures.
In addition, although beyond the terms of reference of this review, there exist possibilities for
streamlining scholarship processes between undergraduate and postgraduate areas, which
currently additionally involve the Graduate School and the Research and Scholarships Office.

The recent decentralization of postgraduate scholarships raises the possibility for stronger central
coordination of postgraduate, Honours and undergraduate scholarships across the University.

Recommendation 10: The DVC (Education) should review coordination mechanisms for the
development, award, management and promotion of undergraduate and Honours
scholarships, in particular to achieve better coordination with postgraduate scholarships.




14
     Submission 7, Bronwyn Wilkes, NUS recipient.
15
     Submission 8, Veronica Ross, JCSMR.

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Undergraduate and Honours Scholarships Review Report
                                                                        1202/2002




LIST OF SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED
(Both UG and Honours)


                  Number            SOURCE
                      1             Jonathan Powles (NITA)
                      2             James Stellios (LAW)
                      3             JCSMR
                      4             Andrea Firth (Prizes)
                      5             RSPAS
                      6             Development Office
                      7             Bronwyn Wilkes (NUS)
                      8             Veronica Ross (JCSMR)
                      9             Canberra Times Article
                     10             Ian Proudfoot (Fac Asian Studies)
                     11             Hans Bachor (Fac Science)
                     12             Damien Ellwood (FEIT)
                     13             Student (Law)




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Undergraduate and Honours Scholarships Review Report

				
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