New Colombo Plan Scholarship Information for Students

New Colombo Plan Scholarships

Western Sydney University is committed to providing our students opportunities to gain a global study experience.

The Australian Government New Colombo Plan (NCP) (opens in a new window) is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study, research and undertake internships in the region. These prestigious Scholarships will be awarded to successful applicants for study in eligible host countries in the Indo-Pacific. These Scholarships cover expenses associated with travel, tuition fees, health and travel insurance. A monthly spending allowance is also included.

NCP Scholars will study in an approved program destination in the Indo-Pacific for up to a full academic year. In addition to this, the experience can include Internships or Mentorships of up to six months, and language study. Applicants should be available to commence studying overseas between 1 January 2021 and 15 December 2021 for up to a maximum of two sessions (across two consecutive sessions of the following:Spring Session 2021 and Autumn Session 2022). Academic credit will be granted to successful applicants towards their degree.

Note: In light of the current Australian government travel restrictions due to COVID-19, we recommend applicants to consider Spring session 2021 session as the start of their proposed NCP scholarship program. In the event that these travel restrictions are not lifted in 2021, NCP scholars can defer their NCP study component to 2022.

Information Webinar

  • Tuesday 26 May 2020, 5:30 - 6:30p.m.
  • Watch recording here (opens in a new window)

Eligible Indo-Pacific Host Destinations for 2021

  • During 2021 a New Colombo Scholarship Program can be conducted in the following 40 eligible Indo-Pacific Host Locations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
  • For more information about Western Sydney University's exchange partner universities in select NCP destinations (China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Taiwan please visit our Where can I go on exchange?). NCP Scholarship Programs do not necessarily need to be taken at an exchange partner university, and you are welcome to research other university options across the range of 40 eligible Indo-Pacific Host Locations, where you could study on an NCP Scholarship Program in a 'non-exchange' capacity.


Scholarships will be awarded to successful applicants who will study overseas for one or two academic semesters, for which they must receive credit at their Australian university. Scholarship programs can also incorporate:

  • an internship of up to six months full-time before or after a study component (or part-time during a study component);
  • a mentorship during a full-time study component or full-time internship component;
  • intensive in-country Asian language training for up to six months;
  • activities that share the scholar's experience of their program with other awardees and their community in the year following their return to Australia.


To be eligible, Western Sydney University applicants for a New Colombo Plan Scholarship must:

  • apply directly to Western Sydney University;
  • be selected from the pool of candidates and short-listed;
  • be nominated by Western Sydney University to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In addition, all candidates must:

  • be an Australian citizen
  • not be a current citizen or permanent resident of their proposed Primary Location or any Secondary Location;
  • be currently enrolled in units at Western Sydney University during the application process;
  • be between 18 and 28 years of age (inclusive) on 1 January 2021;
  • be actively undertaking a Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree when the Scholarship Program would commence;
  • have achieved a minimum 70 per cent graded average or equivalent for their undergraduate course at the time of application, as determined by Western Sydney University; (if this is your first semester and you do not have a GPA, then it is acceptable if you can provide an academic reference commenting on your academic excellence at the tertiary level)
  • not be a previous recipient of a New Colombo Plan Scholarship. (Note: If you have received a NCP Mobility grant, you are still eligible to apply for a New Colombo Plan Scholarship)
  • not be an employee of the brand of DFAT that administers the NCP.

Successful applicants are not allowed to commence another Australian Government funded off-shore scholarship program or mobility grant (including a New Colombo Plan Mobility Program grant) while undertaking their New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program.

All successful short-listed candidates will be required to undergo a police check.This police check must not be dated earlier than 1 May 2020.

The above eligibility is a guide that is referenced and paraphrased from the official Australian Government New Colombo Plan Guidelines Scholarship Program 2021 Round (opens in a new window). All interested students are strongly encouraged to read the Guidelines to gauge if the Program is suitable for them before lodging an application to Western Sydney University. In the event of any discrepancy between this web information and the official 2021 Australian Government guidelines, the guidelines will take precedence.


The New Colombo Plan Scholarship includes:

  • tuition fees to cover the cost of study for any period up to a maximum of two semesters or three semesters (as defined by the Host Institution), where Scholars are studying as fee-paying international students, up to a maximum $10,000 per semester or $6,666 per trimester. These fees are payable directly to the Host Institution. The Scholarship will only provide for international tuition fees if no current exchange agreement place is available between the Home University (Western Sydney University) and the Host Institution.
  • tuition fees to cover the cost of Language Training, for up to six months up to a maximum of $10,000 for Scholars studying as fee-paying international students. These fees are only for in-country Language Training, and must be for an official language of the Host Country and are payable directly to the Language Training provider. Scholars undertaking less than one month of full-time Language Training or part-time Language Training concurrent with another full-time program component may have Language Training tuition fees paid up to a  maximum of $1,500.
  • a travel allowance of $2,500 to contribute to costs associated with the Scholar's travel to and from the Host Location.
  • an establishment allowance of $2,500 to contribute to the costs associated with the Scholar settling into their Host Location.
  • a monthly stipend of $2,500 to contribute to the Scholar's basic living costs in their Host Location.
  • health and travel insurance for the duration of their overseas Scholarship Program.
  • a dedicated Case Manager for the duration of their Scholarship Program who provides services including pre-departure briefings, advice on health and travel insurance, advice and assistance relating to accommodation, and payment of allowances.
  • New Colombo Plan Fellows (the top-ranked Scholar in each location and top-ranked Indigenous Scholar) will receive an additional benefit of $1,000 to purchase study materials for use during their Scholarship Program.
  • Scholarships may be sponsored by Private Sector Organisations for the duration of the Scholar's Scholarship Program. This may include in-kind benefits provided directly to the Scholars, such as training opportunities.

Selection Process and Criteria

Western Sydney University Go Global and Study Abroad will nominate up to 10 eligible short-listed students who may be further short-listed by the Australian Government to apply for the 2021 New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

The Australian Government will select successful applicants from the nominated pool forwarded by Australian universities. If you are shortlisted you must be prepared to attend an interview in September/October 2020.

Nominated applicants will need to address a number of selection criteria including:

Academic excellence at the tertiary level (25 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to a) the applicant's graded average achieved in tertiary studies, and b) to ungraded academic achievements, such as academic awards and commendations, publications, or other examples of academic excellence at the tertiary level. The applicant's communication skills, higher-order cognitive and critical thinking skills, and engagement in learning will also be assessed. High School academic achievements will not be considered.

Leadership in the community (30 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to the applicant's demonstrated leadership in the community, including volunteer and not-for-profit roles and/or activities they have undertaken in their local community, nationally, overseas and/or in their university.

Adaptability and Resilience (20 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to the applicant's potential to adapt to change, thrive in a different environment, and demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges.

Ability to contribute to New Colombo Plan Objective and outcomes (25 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to the applicant's demonstrated understanding of the Strategic Objectives and outcomes, and how the applicant and their proposed Scholarship Program would contribute to the Strategic Objective and outcomes,including on return to Australia.


Applications open now. To apply, click the red button on the top right-hand side of this page or click here (opens in a new window).You are encouraged to read through New Colombo Plan Guidelines Scholarship Program 2021 Round (opens in a new window) prior to submitting your application.

If you are selected by Western Sydney University, you will be required to complete an application form to the Australian Government in August 2020.

The Government will invite its final shortlisted applicants for an interview in September/October 2020.

For more information contact the Western Sydney University Go Global and Study Abroad team:


Broad Timeline



12 May 2020Application opens
26 May 2020 Scholarship Program Information webinar. Watch the recorded webinar here.
14 June 2020Application portal closes

17 June 2020 -
24 June 2020

Western Sydney University conducts first shortlisting, interviews and selects up to 10 nominees for the second shortlist.

24 June 2020 -
21 July 2020
Australian universities nominate applicants (Western Sydney University nominates its second shortlisted applicants).

24 July 2020 -
18 August 2020

Nominated students receive application guidance and an invitation to complete an online application form. Applicants complete their application and gather supporting documentation.

18 August 2020

Applications close at 11.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

September - October 2020

Applications are shortlisted again and final shortlisted applicants are notified and interviewed.

November 2020

Selections are finalised and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Education and Training are notified of selection outcomes.

December 2020

Scholars are announced and their details are published on the New Colombo Plan website.

1 January 2021 -
15 December 2021

Successful Scholars leave for their Scholarship Program. In the event that travel restrictions are not lifted in 2021, NCP scholars can defer their NCP scholarship program to 2022.