Santa Singh and Balwant Kaur Scholarship

For Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Afghan students who identify as a woman enrolled in a vocational or higher education program who can demonstrate financial hardship; worth up to $20,000.

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Applications now closed

The scholarship provides up to $10,000 per annum ($5,000 per semester) for up to two years.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or permanent humanitarian visa holder
  • identify as a woman
  • be either:
    • an Aboriginal and/or Torres Islander, or
    • born in Afghanistan and migrated to Australia
  • be enrolling full-time in a certificate IV, diploma, advanced diploma, associate degree or bachelor degree program at RMIT in semester 1 2024
  • be able to demonstrate financial hardship such as:
    • receiving a government tested low income benefit or having  Centrelink Health Care Card
  • be able to demonstrate circumstance/s which impact your ability to study such as:
    • living with a disability, long-term medical condition or identify as neurodiverse
    • experiencing personal/family/social difficulties
    • be from an interstate or rural/regional area and moving/moved to Melbourne to study at RMIT
    • have previously/are currently living in foster/kinship care or are a ward of the state
    • be from an under-represented background such as completed your secondary education at a School Network Access Program school

Preference will be given to Vocational Education students.

It is preferred that you apply direct to RMIT for this scholarship.

Direct to RMIT applications

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

VTAC applications

Apply online through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) website (

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.

Students applying as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander will need:

Please visit Supporting Your Application for more information.

Find out more about applying for scholarships.

Applications are now closed. 

Applications are now closed. 

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

Pretam Kaur, in memory of her parents, established the Santa Singh and Balwant Kaur Scholarship for Indigenous and Afghan women experiencing financial hardship.

A message from Pretam Kaur:

“My father Santa Singh and my mother Balwant Kaur were born in British India in Punjab. They were illiterate, starving, poor, and came to British Malaya before 1940 as coolie labourers. I was born in Malaya in early 1945 when bombs were falling. In 1951, my mother wanted to send me to English school like my two older brothers. The Sikh community opposed my parents and shamed and ostracised them. The Punjabi school in the temple was considered sufficient for girls. English schools were meant only for boys. 

My parents fought the entire community and sent me to English school with love and devotion. My parents supported my education even when they had no money. In 1965 I went to university, my brothers didn’t. 

My parents’ gift of education changed my life. The story of their courage and determination has defined me. The scholarships for Indigenous and Afghan women come from my parents to you, colonised and impoverished as they were, to connect to the oldest culture, and join with your dreaming.

Afghan women have been colonised by the British, the Soviet Union, the USA and their wealth looted like our Indigenous women. My parents and I share the history of these women.  We can't change our history, but by working together we can change our future, and help create a more peaceful, just world.”

Find out how to contact the Coursework Scholarships Office.

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.