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A guide to Australia’s unis for future First Nations students

Rachael Knowles -

The end of school year is nearing very quickly and those ending their high school careers are facing the next step in life.

These decisions can be daunting, so we're to try and make taking that leap just a bit easier.

We've compiled an A-Z list of some universities across the country and what they can offer prospective First Nations students.

Australian Catholic University (ACU), NSW

ACU main campus is situated in Sydney and provides both on campus and online learning.

First Nations students applying will have the opportunity for an interview to determine admission options.

ACU campuses have an Indigenous Higher Education Unit, which provides tutoring, cultural activities, networking and professional development, and offer advice on scholarships and financial aid.

For more information on ACU, visit:

Australian National University, ACT

First Nations students applying to ANU are eligible for priority entry or adjustment factors for pathways into courses.

Sitting on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country, ANU's Tiabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre is a meeting place and support base for First Nations students.

It provides academic support, pastoral care and personal support, quality free tuition, advice on internships and scholarships, access to ANU services, outreach programs, study spaces and computer labs.

ANU offers a range of scholarship and financial aid. For more information, visit:

Charles Darwin University (CDU), NT

First Nations students who can't access their desired course are encouraged to enrol in the Preparation for Tertiary Success (PTS) program.

The Office of Indigenous Student Services (OISS) Academic Support team offers help with admission, enrolment, application and course information.

OISS also offers orientation programs, opportunities for leadership and advocacy, support with counselling careers and accommodation and free tutoring.

OISS support centres are located on CDU's Casuarina, Alice Springs and Katherine campuses.

CDU also offers a Diploma of Yolngu Studies.

For more information:

Curtin University, WA

Sitting on Whadjuk Noongar land, Curtin's Indigenous Department offers First Nations students tutoring, counselling, medical services, and more.

Enabling courses are available through the Centre for Aboriginal Studies â€" these courses help students achieve the requirements of the courses they desire.

Courses include Indigenous Tertiary Enabling course, along with courses in Pre-Medicine and Health Science, Pre-Science and Engineering and Pre-Business.

For more information, visit:

Deakin University, VIC

Deakin's Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) works with First Nations students to help them achieve a degree in a culturally safe space.

They provide several on-campus, week-long intensives and online components through their Community Based Delivery (CBD).

IKE covers transportation and houses those completing the CBD courses in their Kitjarra student residence.

Admission into IKE is based on alternative entry â€" valuing knowledge and experience.

Multiple scholarships are available along with access to the Indigenous Tutorial Network that helps students connect with tutors.

For more information on what Deakin can offer, visit:

Edith Cowan University (ECU), WA

Alternative entry pathways at ECU include the Aboriginal Student Intake Test and the Indigenous University Orientation Course.

ECU also offers an Aboriginal Performance Certificate which enables students to enter the entertainment industry.

Their Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, Kurongkurl Katitjin, offers support through student rooms, access to resources, community engagement and cultural guidance from their Elder-in-Residence.

Kurongkurl Katitjin is a Noongar phrase meaning 'coming together to learn'.

For more information, visit:


Federation University (FedUni), VIC

FedUni Aboriginal Education Centre provides support to both prospective and current First Nations students.

The centre provides information and support regarding tutorial help, career advice and referrals to childcare, accommodation, counselling, financial, transport and other services.

First Nations students can access, through the centre, computer lounges and resource libraries, and they can also connect with the local Aboriginal community and community organisations.

FedUni offers both external and internal scholarship opportunities, visit:

Griffith University (GU), QLD

GU's Gumurrii Student Support Unit helps prospective and current First Nations students with recruitment, orientation, study support and tutoring.

Griffith's Direct Entry Registration assesses entrants' formal qualifications, life experiences and other transferable skills to allow them access into undergraduate study.

The University also offers tertiary preparation for those students who lack the formal admission requirements

For information on scholarships and more, visit:

La Trobe University, VIC and NSW

Sitting in the top 1.2 percent of universities worldwide, La Trobe campuses are in Melbourne, Sydney and regional Victoria.

La Trobe offers tuition, both individual and group, exam preparation assistance and computer lab access.

Scholarships are available and financial assistance can be access through Indigenous Student Services Officers.

For advice on alternative pathways into La Trobe, the institution recommends getting in touch.

For more information, visit:

Monash University (MU), VIC

MU was the first university in Australia to have a dedicated Indigenous Centre â€" the Monash Centre for Research into Aboriginal Affairs, established in 1964

Now known as Yulendj Indigenous Engagement Unit, it provides support to students in education with tutoring, access to study spaces and resources, and culture, with their Elder-in-Residence Aunty Diane Singh.

Pathways into studying include Indigenous Non-Award Pathways (part-time) and Monash Indigenous Access Program (full-time) which transitions into undergraduate study.

For more information, visit:

The University of New South Wales (UNSW), NSW

UNSW is one of the nation's leading research and teaching universities.

The University's Nura Gili Centre for Indigenous Programs is the focal point for First Nations people living and studying on the university's Kensington campus, and it provides support through advice and tutoring.

Enabling programs are offered and run for one year on the Kensington campus.

University preparation programs, UNSW preparation programs and an Indigenous Admission Scheme are also alternative pathways for enrolment.

The university supplies a range of scholarship opportunities, financial aid and accommodation facilities.

For more information, visit:


The University of Newcastle (UON), NSW

UON's Wollotuka Centre for Indigenous Engagement and Advancement offers a range of tools for First Nations students.

Wollotuka is an Awabakal word meaning, 'eating and meeting place.'

The centre is home to support such as counselling, tutoring and resources such as computer labs, printers and audio-visual materials â€" and connects students to health services and cultural programs.

First Nations prospective students over 18-years-of-age can enter undergraduate study at UON through the Yapug Pathway Program offered on UON's main campus, Callaghan campus.

The university offers a range of scholarships and financial aid along with various accommodation options.

For more information on UON's Wollotuka Centre, visit:

University of Queensland (UQ), QLD

The UQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS) Unit works to help First Nations people from pre-enrolment to graduation.

It provides services such as personal support and counselling, professional development, tutoring, scholarships and financial assistance and accommodation.

UQ offers three admission pathway options for First Nations students, including entry into undergraduate programs and admission pathways into a Doctor of Medicine, either Provisional or Graduate.

For more information, visit:


Swinburne University of Technology (SwinburneUIT), VIC

SwinburneUIT established their Indigenous centre, Moondani Toombadool Centre in 2018.

The name is in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri peoples, and means 'embracing teaching and learning'.

Moondani Toombadool hosts an Indigenous Student Services team that aims to help First Nations students in areas such as pre-enrolment, subject selection, orientation, graduation as well as offering free tutoring.

SwinburneUIT offers alternative pathways through their Alternative Tertiary Entry Program and a range of scholarships, too.

For more information, visit:


University of Tasmania (UT), TAS

Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education provides student support and offers tutoring and orientation to First Nations students, along with access to computer and study labs, and internships.

The Murina Program is an alternative pathway course that provides First Nations students with the necessary skills to prepare and enter into undergraduate study.

UT provides a range of scholarships and support, see more at:

University of Technology Sydney (UTS), NSW

The Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research is located on the UTS main campus in Sydney's CBD.

The centre supports the academic, social, cultural and emotional wellbeing of First Nations students, enabling access to support and resources.

UTS offers the Jumbunna Pathways Program that allows First Nations people to enter an alternative pathway into an undergraduate degree â€" applications are now open.

The program can funnel students into pathways such as the UTS Jumbunna Unistart Program, a year course that provides entry into prospective students' desired undergraduate degrees and credits.

The Insearch Indigenous Scholarships Program, offers nine scholarships to one of six diploma courses, providing additional support to students.

The Jumbunna Centre is a space for students to go for support and guidance during their studies.

For more information, visit:

The University of Wollongong (UOW), NSW

UOW main campus sits on the coal coast of NSW and weighs in at 16th in the QS Top 50 Under 50 Rankings 2020, which examines the best modern universities worldwide.

UOW's Woolyungah Indigenous Centre (WIC) sits on the Wollongong campus however, offers support to the Shoalhaven, Bega, Southern Highland and Liverpool campuses. It offers study rooms, common areas and tutoring.

WIC also hosts a cultural fire pit and yarning circle regularly used with the local community.

WIC offers an Indigenous Admission Program which consists of a three-day workshop and assessment that offers alternative pathways for First Nations people over 17-years-of-age.

The course offers direct entry or entry via UOW College.

UOW provides scholarship opportunities, various campuses and multiple accommodation options. For more information, visit:

By Rachael Knowles


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