Sisters of Charity Foundation Australia

Tertiary Scholarship Program

How We HelpTertiary Scholarship Program

University and TAFE scholarships for young people with an out-of-home care background

It is a sad reality that only around 1% of young people who grew up in foster care, group homes or other out-of-home care arrangements are able to attend university, compared to approximately 40% of young people in the general population. Many become caught in a cycle of disadvantage and lose access to both education and much-needed learning support.

You can change that, and make tertiary education possible for a young person in out-of-home care right now.

Financial support helps our scholarship recipients afford study expenses such as course fees and textbooks, as well as the cost of living on their own with no parental support. It means they can focus on their studies without needing to hold down multiple jobs at the same time. The scholarship also allows our students to take advantage of opportunities that boost their chances of career success, such as attending conferences and networking events, or completing internships.

University and TAFE scholarships for care leavers

Care leavers face barriers to tertiary education

For care leavers, embarking on a tertiary education is extraordinarily difficult. They must overcome significant social and economic barriers: from frequent school changes, absenteeism and lower expectations from carers and teachers to lack of family support, unstable housing or homelessness, and unemployment.

This cohort also faces high rates of mental illness as a result of past abuse and neglect, and may be dealing with substance abuse issues or involvement in the youth criminal justice system.

The vast majority of these young people lack the emotional and financial support that most of us take for granted, and are among the most disadvantaged in our community. 

The Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program empowers these students to transform their lives through education.


What is out-of-home care?

Out-of-home care is a statutory care arrangement for children under 18 who can’t live safely at home with their birth families due to chronic child abuse or neglect.

The state government becomes their legal guardian and places the child with an alternate caregiver: a foster carer, relative, or someone in their social network. They might also live in a residential building under the care of paid staff, or independently in a private rental situation.

Almost 47,000 young Australians are in out-of-home care, with around 11,600 transitioning out every year. Government assistance for this group traditionally stops at 18.

The Home Stretch campaign, which the Foundation fully supports, is calling for all state and territory governments to provide an option where the provision of care can be extended to age 21.

What do we want to achieve by funding scholarships?

Missing out on university or other tertiary studies further excludes a vulnerable cohort from the lifetime rewards brought by higher education, from improved employment opportunities and earning potential to mental wellbeing and community connectedness.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation believes that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Young people who have the opportunity to study because of the generosity of our donors then go on to become active and engaged members of our community.

Which universities and TAFEs do we partner with?

Past and current scholarship recipients have attended the following universities:

  • Australian Catholic University 
  • Deakin University 
  • The University of Melbourne 
  • The University of Notre Dame
  • University of NSW 
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • Western Sydney University 

TAFE locations:

  • Eora, NSW
  • Petersham, NSW
  • Randwick, NSW
  • St George, NSW 
  • Wollongong, NSW
  • TAFE Qld
  • The Gordon, Vic


  • Australian Film Television and Radio School

I am a student. How do I apply for a scholarship?

The Sisters of Charity Foundation offers a university scholarship valued at up to $30,000 over the duration of your course, and a TAFE scholarship valued at $5,000 per year for the duration of your course. To be eligible to apply for the Tertiary Scholarship Program, applicants must:

  • Be an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident
  • Be aged 27 or under
  • Be currently in out-of-home care, or have previously been in out-of-home care
  • Demonstrate that you are experiencing educational disadvantage and financial hardship
  • Demonstrate academic achievements, commitment, and motivation to study and to successfully complete the course, and to gain employment
  • Correctly complete an application form and attach all supporting documents as indicated

Please note, the decision of the scholarship assessment committee is final, and no appeals will be entered into.


Download the University Application


Download the TAFE Application


Please contact Program Development Manager Estelle Muller at for information on when the next scholarship round opens. 

It makes me feel really happy that I’m part of this, that I’m part of this opportunity. I really hope I can return the favour to other children later on. 

– Renee, scholarship recipient at University of Notre Dame


University and TAFE scholarships for care leavers

Donate now and support our Tertiary Scholarship Program

Every year, young people miss out on tertiary education because they don’t have the resources to pay for additional costs. You can help them get the opportunity they need.

100% of your donation to the Sisters of Charity Foundation will go towards funding a scholarship for a young person who has lived in out-of-home care to attend university or TAFE. There are a few ways you can donate to us, including:

  • Make a donation: Use the form below to make your donation. 
  • Leave a gift in your Will: Document your intentions to leave us a gift in your Will, and your legacy will provide a young person with a generous opportunity. 
  • Workplace giving: Want to become an ongoing supporter? You can ask your employer to contribute a pre-tax donation to us each pay day. 

Make a life-changing decision now and support the growth of a young person who needs it.

Donate today

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Donation Total: $50.00 One Time

All Donations will be in the Currency AUD

All donations above $2 are tax-deductible.


Meet our Tertiary Scholarship Program recipients

Serra’s story