Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Scholarship

For Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students working, or intending to work in the social and emotional well-being workforce, enrolled in related programs; worth up to $135,000 for tuition fees, SSAF and financial support.

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Applications now closed

The scholarship provides:

  • The payment of tuition fees (up to $12,000* per year for undergraduate programs and up to $31,000* per year for postgraduate by coursework programs for the standard duration of program)
  • The payment of the Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF), up to $351** per annum 
  • Financial assistance of up to $10,000 per annum for full-time enrolment or $5,000 per annum for part-time enrolment

*Values are based on a full-time enrolment load.

**Student Services and Amenities Fees for 2024, the value listed is subject to change. 

Additional support funding of up to $5,000 per year to assist with:

  • the purchase of home office equipment and technology
  • loss of income during unpaid university placement(s)
  • study tours and overseas exchange
  • access to Aboriginal student peer networks, mentoring and alumni programs, and support from Aboriginal Elders 
  • tutoring and assistance with academic studies where required – this could include flexible learning options, such as online and after-hours support
  • opportunities for scholars to attend relevant conferences, regional and local networks and communities of practice
  • professional development and career mapping through the sector
  • accommodation and placements, where required.

Note: This scholarship is regarded as taxable income if a recipient is undertaking their study at a part-time enrolment rate. We recommend that you obtain taxation advice from an accountant or the Australian Tax Office regarding scholarships.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

The online application form will be made available here when applications open. 

Supporting documentation

Depending on your circumstances, you will need to provide different types of evidence and material to support your scholarship application. Applications without supporting documents will not be considered.

You will need:

You may also wish to include:
  • a letter from your employer (if you are already employed by an ACCO or mainstream health organisation) outlining how they will support you through the course (e.g. flexible work arrangements and/or study leave, mentoring etc.). They may also like to outline what opportunities they see for you in their organisation; or
  • a letter of support from a community member (if you are not employed by an ACCO or mainstream health organisation) outlining your commitment to Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing and your ability to balance both your work and study commitments.

Please visit Supporting Your Application for more information.

Application questions

It is expected that the online application will take approximately thirty minutes to complete. The main application questions are listed below to allow you time to prepare your answers in advance prior to starting the online application.

  • Describe your interest in and commitment to Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing (300 words)
  • Discuss your future career aspirations (i.e., your intent to maintain or gain employment within an Aboriginal SEWB team following completion of your studies) (300 words)

You can find the Centre for Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing's (the Centre) (hosted by VACCHO) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the scholarship here.

Find out more about applying for scholarships.

Applications are now closed.

It is anticipated that this scholarship will next be offered for Semester 1, 2025, with applications opening August 2024.

Applications are now closed.

Understand that the following information will be provided to the the Victorian Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation (VACCHO) and the Department of Health (Mental Health and Wellbeing Division):

  • Submitted scholarship application and attached documentation
  • personal contact details 
  • For successful recipients:
    • ongoing scholarship and program progression information
    • information for the provision of additional support
    • survey results (de-identified)
    • that your name, program and scholarship maybe publicly announced or otherwise published by the Department of Health and VACCHO
    • any other evidence as reasonably required by the Department of Health and VACCHO from time to time

Recipients of this scholarship understand that:

  • a scholarship may be terminated by RMIT University, in consultation with the Department, if you have not maintained satisfactory academic performance each semester.
  • your scholarship can be placed on hold for a maximum period of two semesters after the initial semester of study to coincide with taking a leave of absence from your studies.
  • it is expected that you will participate in an external evaluation of the scholarship, whereby your contact details will be provided to an external organisation for the sole purpose of undertaking the evaluation to ensure the scholarship is meeting its outcomes and for implementing continuous quality improvement.
  • you will need to discuss with the Coursework Scholarships Office prior to any change to your program as most program changes will be ineligible. 
  • you will not be eligible to receive any other scholarship while in receipt of this scholarship.
  • you must acknowledge the Department of Health and VACCHO in all consequential media and documentation.

View the Coursework Scholarships Office’s terms and conditions (PDF, 698KB).


The Department of Health is partnering with VACCHO and RMIT University to implement an Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) Scholarship Program. The program aims to assist Aboriginal people working in Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing teams to complete further education in clinical and therapeutic mental health qualifications to build Victoria's Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing workforce. 

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (the Commission) recommendation for the statewide expansion of Aboriginal SEWB teams will lead to increased demand for Aboriginal health professionals. Although Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) can employ non-Aboriginal clinicians in the teams and can purchase clinical expertise from non-Aboriginal services, the Commission considers that building the Aboriginal workforce is integral to the success of social and emotional wellbeing services in the longer term. Evidence suggests that Aboriginal health professionals apply unique technical and socio-cultural skills to improve client care while promoting self-determination for Community. 

In recognition of both the urgent need for reform and the need to take to a social and emotional wellbeing approach to mental health, the Commission’s Interim Report recommended a suite of reforms to support Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations to provide comprehensive care for Aboriginal people, their families and communities. A key workforce recommendation from the interim report includes scholarships to enable Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing team members to obtain recognised clinical and therapeutic mental health qualifications from approved public tertiary providers.

Notice to applicants

The scholarship application process is highly competitive with a limited number of scholarships available. Unfortunately, not all eligible applicants will receive one.

Only successful candidates will be notified via email to their RMIT student account.

For information about other financial assistance available to RMIT students, please speak to one of our Student Welfare Advisors.

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.