Students with difficult circumstances: Educational Access Scheme

If you've experienced difficult circumstances that have impacted on your studies, you can receive an OP (or rank) boost or a scholarship and OP boost.

You should apply if your studies have been impacted by:

  • experiencing financial hardship
  • disruptive home environments or increased responsibilities
  • English language difficulties
  • a disability, injury or health condition
  • an education disruption.

When you apply through QTAC, you'll be able to select these five categories as part of the Educational Access Scheme. All Queensland universities offer these benefits, but values will vary depending on the institution.

Benefits of the Education Access Scheme

You can receive up to a 3 OP (or 6 ranks) bonus for each category. The maximum you can receive if you apply for multiple categories is 5 OP (or 10 ranks) bonus.

There are also a number of free support services available for students once they have enrolled at QUT.

Educational Access Scheme benefits

I'm experiencing financial hardship

If you're from a low-income background or struggle financially, you may be eligible for the Q-Step Scheme under category 1 of the EAS (financial hardship). The Q-Step Scheme offers a guaranteed Equity scholarship to successful applicants in addition to the OP or rank bonus.

You can apply if you're from a low-income background and you're also:

  • an Australian citizen (including dual citizenship holders)
  • and Australian permanent resident
  • an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder
  • a New Zealand citizen.

There is not a set definition of 'low-income'. We assess every application individually and decisions are based on factors like:

  • your income
  • your family's income
  • the number of children in your family
  • any Centrelink payments you've received over the last year.

If you've undertaken prior university or VET study, that might affect your eligibility. Contact the Equity Scholarships team to find out if you're affected.

I have a difficult home environment

If your home environment has made it difficult for you to study, you may be eligible for support under category 2 of the EAS (home environment and responsibilities). The circumstances recognised include family conflict, abuse, divorce, illness or death of a family member, and caring responsibilities.

English is not my first language

You can apply for support under category 3 of the EAS (English language difficulty) if you have been in Australia for less than 10 years and your most recent study was negatively impacted by difficulty communicating in English.

If you have been enrolled in education for more than five years, in any country where you were taught in English, you will not normally be eligible for this category. However, some exceptions do apply, especially if the language spoken in our home is not English.

I've experienced an illness or disability

You can apply for support under category 4 of the EAS (personal illness and disability) if you've experienced long term or recurrent illness or disability and your education provider has not been able to provide sufficient compensation for your circumstances.

This support isn't available for students who've experienced either:

  • mild or short episodes of illness
  • illness that was well managed with medical treatment and had limited impact on their education.

My education has been disrupted

If your education was disrupted by frequent change of school, peer conflict or a disrupted school environment, you can apply for support under category 5 of the EAS (educations disruption).

You should apply if you've experienced:

  • significant disruption to your school (for example, buildings destroyed)
  • rural, regional or remote schooling
  • frequent change of teachers or lack of subject choices
  • frequent change of school or change of school system in Year 11 and 12
  • peer conflict
  • limited school participation due to gender, family or cultural demands and expectations.

How do I know if I'm eligible?

There's different criteria and documentation that you'll need to supply depending on the category.

You can find out more about each of the categories, and what documentation you'll need to submit, through the Educational Access Scheme at QTAC.

How do I apply?

When you complete your QTAC application, you'll be asked to select as many of the five EAS categories that apply to your situation.

You should apply for all categories that are relevant for you. You'll need to supply supporting documentation for each category.

Does the OP bonus apply to the course I want to do?

The EAS OP or rank bonus applied to most undergraduate courses, but you should check your course information to be sure.

You can't get the EAS OP or rank bonus if you're applying for:

  • music single or double degrees
  • fine arts single and double degrees with additional entry requirements
  • Dean's Scholars programs (in any faculty)
  • courses with prior study requirements.

If you're applying for one of these courses as your first preference, you can still apply for the OP or rank bonus for your other preferences.

If your course isn't eligible for the OP or rank bonus, and you're eligible for category 1 of the EAS (financial hardship), you may still be able to receive the Equity scholarship.

If your course has additional entry requirements, like an audition, interview or questionnaire, you may be eligible for the OP or rank bonus if you successfully complete all the additional requirements. Check your course information to find out about additional requirements.

If you're accepted under category 1 of the EAS (financial hardship), you might not have to pay audition fees for Creative Industries courses.

What happens next?

QTAC will assess your application, and if you're eligible for the Education Access Scheme you'll automatically receive your OP bonus.

If you've applied for the support under category 1 (financial hardship), we'll let you know by email whether or not you have been accepted into the Q-Step Scheme. If you're not successful, we encourage you to apply for the Equity Scholarships Scheme.

Once you've been offered and accepted a place at QUT you'll get access to any support services we offer.