The GAF scholarship program at Swinburne provides living support assistance for undergraduates who need to move away from home to attend the university.
The George Alexander Foundation Scholarship Program (for Living Support) at Swinburne University of Technology was established in 2006 with the first cohort supported in 2007. Since then the program has been renewed five times.
The program offers five new scholarships annually. The scholarship supports living expenses for students who need to reside away from home in order to undertake tertiary studies and is valued at $22,500 over three years ($7,500 per year). The GAF scholarship program is the highest value scholarship program at Swinburne University, prized by both the university and the students.
"Being a long distance commuter usually means that you never really connect with other students. The scholarship has allowed me to move closer to uni and made possible the connection with people."
A key strength of the GAF scholarship program at Swinburne is the GAF scholars network which provides scholars with peer support, information sharing and academic and social opportunities. The network was established in 2008 to ensure that commencing scholars had support when they arrived at Swinburne. Through the network existing scholars act as mentors for newcomers, assisting them with transition to university life and living way from home.
A requirement of the GAF scholarship program at Swinburne is that scholars undertake some formal volunteer work during the year. Much of this volunteering is completed as a group via the network but many take on roles above and beyond what is required by the scholarship. Scholars commonly report that the volunteering requirement has helped them develop a greater sense of community spirit and assisted them in building experience and confidence that helps with their career development.
"One key benefit has been the opportunity to develop leadership skills through various activities that our GAF network has been involved in."
See the Swinburne University website for further information on their GAF scholarship program.