The University's Shaping Futures Scholarship Appeal raises money for scholarships for disadvantaged students.

UON Great China Walk, Walk 50km for the 50th year, Raising funds for scholarships for disadvantaged students

Shaping Futures Scholarship Appeal

The gift of education

At the University of Newcastle we believe in giving all students the chance to achieve their dreams regardless of their background or experiences.

Donations to the Shaping Futures Scholarship Appeal fund much needed scholarships for academically gifted students who are facing hardship or challenges - those students who need it the most.

We established the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund to help inspirational students who are determined to follow their dreams against all odds.

Donations to the Shaping Futures Scholarship Appeal fund scholarships for those students most in need.

These are students who have health problems and disabilities or are facing severe financial hardship. Students with carer responsibilities or family problems or a combination of any of these issues.  

The financial assistance from the scholarship can help with expenses such as tuition fees, text books, travel, computer equipment, medical expenses, food and accommodation costs.

Your donation will help to support these students and help relieve the more extreme economic pressures that they face daily. Through this financial assistance, scholarship recipients will be able to focus more on their studies and academic achievement.

Giving to a scholarship is so much more than financial support – it unlocks potential, gives encouragement and can profoundly impact a student's life. Being awarded a scholarship is also a validation of a student's ability. The recipient gains a sense of recognition which encourages not only a greater sense of self-confidence, but a genuine determination to strive for excellence in their academic study.

The experience of receiving a scholarship for a disadvantaged student can, quite literally, be transformational.

Eligible donations to the University of Newcastle of $2.00 or more are tax deductible in Australia.

Why do we need more scholarships for disadvantaged and gifted students?

Full-time students pay from $5,000 - $9,000 per year for tuition fees. This does not include textbooks, photocopying, computer equipment, stationary, lab manuals, study materials, travel or living away from home expenses. Living on campus can cost up to $15,000 a year and renting a house can cost even more.

Around 48 per cent of the Hunter's population comes from low socio-economic (financially disadvantaged) backgrounds. Close to one-third of our students fall into this category, almost double the national average participation rate - that's more than 9,000 students. We are very proud of the support we provide to our disadvantaged students but we need more help.

Recent research undertaken across all universities in Australia found that two thirds of undergraduate students live on income below the poverty line. And that 22.7 per cent of full-time student were found to regularly skip classes because they needed to attend employment.*

If we don't help these students they may drop out - this means their dreams go unfulfilled and their potential undiscovered.

(*Source: Bexley, E., S. Arkoudis, S. & James, R. (2013). University student finances in 2012: A study of the financial circumstances of domestic and international students in Australia's universities. Canberra: Universities Australia.)

The Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund  was established in 2011 with the aim of helping those students most in need.

Scholarships are entirely funded by generous donations from alumni, donors, businesses and the community to the annual Shaping Futures Scholarship Appeal.

Anyone can contribute to the fund. Any amount is gratefully received – no matter how big or small. The more money raised the more scholarships can be awarded and the more students will be helped.

To be eligible for a Shaping Futures Scholarship students need to be academically gifted but also facing hardship from factors such as being from a low socio-economic background, coming from a rural or remote area, living with a disability, or have carer or parenting responsibilities - or a combination of these challenges.

Students must also be enrolled in any year of any undergraduate degree program and be a full time student. Both international and domestic students are eligible for this scholarship.

We want students to be able to shape their future and change their lives forever through obtaining an education!

Felicity Collis

Shaping Futures Scholarship recipient Felicity Collis

Felicity left home just days before she sat her Higher School Certificate, after she experienced family issues. Sadly Felicity attempted suicide in 2009, however she has since undergone treatment to get help and is now studying a Bachelor of Social Work.

"My story is not one that I tell from a place of sadness, but of determination and hope that one day I will enrich another person's life. The Shaping Futures Scholarship is something I will hold close to me for the rest of my life. It's an amazing feeling that someone believes in me."

Marcos Cousens-Schulz

Shaping Futures Scholarship recipient Marcos Cousens-Schulz

Central Coast student Marcos Cousens-Schulz who suffers from cerebral palsy is another Shaping Futures Scholarship recipient. Marcos is studying a Bachelor of Information Technology. He has used his scholarship to pay for transport to and from his university lectures.

"We don't have any public transport where I live and if my mother is working I have to take a taxi to get to lectures and it costs around $80 each way. This scholarship has helped me ease the financial pressure on my family to pay for me to get to class."

Jenny Craft

Shaping Futures Scholarship recipient Jenny Craft

Jenny's daughter Imogen suffers from a disability that medical professionals are still unable to diagnose. Imogen requires constant and specialised care fuelling Jenny's decision to obtain a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics and transform her family's life.

"Thank you so much for supporting the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund. This scholarship means more to me than I can put into words that all my hard work as a student and carer is valued and recognised by others."

Yannis Abraham

Shaping Futures Scholarship recipient Yannis Abraham

Yannis Abraham is studying a Bachelor of Oral Health at the Central Coast campus at Ourimbah. Yannis and his family arrived in Australia in 2009 as refugees from Afghanistan. He had no formal education before coming to this country. He dreams of becoming a dentist one day.   

"When I was a boy growing up in Afghanistan my father used to ask me to examine him like a doctor. I'm so proud I am finally making his and my dream of becoming a healthcare professional a reality."

Caroline McMillen

Equity of access is part of our DNA here at the University of Newcastle.

I am constantly inspired by the drive of our students to succeed. They are a testament to the  transformative power of education. But some of our students are struggling more than others.

They face more challenges than most. If we don't help these students they may drop out - this means their dreams go unfulfilled and their potential undiscovered.

We established the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund in 2011 to help these students who are determined to follow their dreams against all odds. But every year the number of applications is increasing.

It is my personal commitment to keep our doors open to people from all walks of life with ability and determination to enter and succeed in higher education, especially for those who are facing a myriad of challenges.

The Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund is a strategic priority for our University. We are committed to growing the fund to ensure that it is large enough to allow for a sustainable approach well into the future - to support those most in need of our help.

However, I need your help. Almost 27 per cent of our students are from a low socio-economic background, significantly higher than the national average of 16 per cent - that's more than 9,000 students.

Access to education can not only change the lives of students but also their families and the communities that benefit from their achievements. Giving to a scholarship is so much more than financial support - it also gives encouragement, profoundly impacting a student's life.

All of the Shaping Futures Scholarship recipients have something in common – they have taken a step towards transforming their lives through higher education. They just needed that little extra support to reach their full potential.I am proud to lead the Shaping Futures Scholarship Appeal. The scholarship program not only has the support of the University but also the Alumni Advisory Committee.

If you are a past student, a current or former staff member, a donor or a supporter of the University of Newcastle I would encourage you to give to this very worthy cause. You can directly help a student achieve their goals and dreams.

On behalf of the University of Newcastle, thank you for your support.

Professor Geoffrey Evans

Professor Geoff Evans 

"When I received the information about the Shaping Futures Scholarship Appeal I was delighted to see that the University had taken on such an initiative. I thought this is just fantastic; this is really a meaningful thing. We are helping those students most in need. As a staff member I am passionate about helping students and see it as a very worthwhile cause."

Keryl Kavanagh

Keryl Kavanagh 

"I've seen first-hand the challenges that so many students face. Giving to the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund is just a small but very tangible way I could help. I've seen it over and over again - a student who receives help from a scholarship today overcomes their hurdles, goes on to achieve an education and then makes an impact on all of those around them."

Peter Brecht

Peter Brecht 

"I chose to give where I feel connected. As an alumnus I gave to my university, my community. There just aren't enough scholarships for these amazing students to go around and they are crying out for help. For me it's the quiet knowledge of having done something that can change one person's life forever."


How do I make a donation?

There are a number of ways you can make a donation. The University of Newcastle can accept donations via credit card, electronic funds transfer (EFT), cheque or money order.


You can make a donation to help our talented but disadvantaged students via our secure website.

Give now 


If you wish to make a donation by cheque, EFT or money order download a donation form (PDF, 597KB).


Contact the University of Newcastle Foundation

T +61 2 4921 7453

F +61 2 4921 5112



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