La Trobe University has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement this morning of a financial relief package for international students.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the much-needed money would assist the many international students at La Trobe who are currently facing severe financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I applaud the Victorian government for its recognition of our international students and the vital role they play in our communities and to our economy,” Professor Dewar said.

“More than anything, this is a humanitarian step, recognising that there are many international students whose current financial situation is dire. Many of them have lost their jobs or access to family support, are not eligible for Federal government support, and are unable to return to their home countries.

“La Trobe has already committed more than $12m in direct financial support to our students during these exceptional times, with $6.8m allocated to directly support our international students, as we know they are feeling the effects of the pandemic most acutely.

“This additional support from the Victorian government will help ensure our international students are able to continue their studies and thrive.”

La Trobe University has already awarded:

More than $4m in emergency bursaries
$4m in Student Services and Amenity Fee refunds to students
$4m in accommodation credits, parking refunds and other direct student support
More than $530k of this has been raised through the La Trobe Crisis Student Appeal, contributed to by La Trobe staff, alumni, students and other friends of La Trobe
The University has also negotiated an additional $10,000 in emergency food vouchers for international students through our partnership with Medibank, and we are in regular contact with local councils surrounding our campuses regarding potential access for international students to food and basic goods such as weekly grocery vouchers, food parcels, and pre-made meals to households.

The University continues to provide safe housing to a significant number of international students and has amplified its health and wellbeing services, including counselling services and a dedicated International Student Services team.

Additionally, the University has deferred international student fee deadlines by six weeks and have permitted students to underload. The University is also refunding fees for subjects not taken rather than carrying them forward as credit.