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Scholarship details

2021 - New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship

Status: Closed

Applications open: 1/05/2020
Applications close: 8/06/2020

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

The New Colombo Plan is an initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia and strengthen our people-to-people and institutional relationships, through study and work placement undertaken by Australian undergraduate students in the region.

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program will provide opportunities for a selected number of undergraduates to undertake long term study and work experience in the Indo-Pacific region.

Merit based scholarships will be offered to Australia’s best and brightest students who also show a strong commitment to their community and potential as a future leader.

In addition to a study programme of one or two academic semesters, for which scholars must receive credit at their Australian university, scholarship programs may incorporate an internship or mentorship of up to 6 months; intensive in-country language training for up to 1 month and activities that share the scholar’s experience of their program with other awardees and their community in the year following their return to Australia.

2021 NCP 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.

Meet the 2017 NCP Scholar - Georgia Ivers (Curtin University)

Meet the WA NCP Alumni - Isla Munro (Curtin University)

New Colombo Plan - Your questions answered (A series of short interviews with previous NCP scholars and alumni about many aspects of the scholarships (and mobility programs) from applications through internships.

New Colombo Plan - Scholar Stories

 (A series of short video profiles of NCP Scholarship alumni outlining how their NCP experience has impacted on their lives, careers and ongoing connections with the Indo-Pacific.

  • Current Students
  • Centre for Aboriginal Studies
  • Faculty of Business and Law
  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Science courses
    • Engineering courses
    • Western Australian School of Mines (WASM)
  • Undergraduate
  • Curtin students wanting to study overseas
  • Australian Citizen
  • Merit Based

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship will provide:

  • a travel allowance of $2,500
  • an establishment allowance of $2,500
  • a monthly stipend of $2,500
  • a mental health allowance of $1,000
  • 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.
  • Where incurred, payment of in-country language training fees up to $1,500 will be made directly to the language-training provider.

Where a Scholar will be studying abroad as a fee paying international student the Scholarship will provide:

  • Payment of up to one Academic Year’s international tuition fees to a maximum of $20,000 ($10,000 per semester or $6,666 per trimester); payable directly to the Host Institution (includes student service and amenities fees).

Please note:

  • The Scholarship will only provide for international tuition fees if no current exchange agreement place is available between the Home University and the Host Institution.
  • If the Scholar’s study abroad is under the auspices of an exchange program and the Host Institution does not charge tuition fees, the allocation for tuition fees will not be provided.

In addition to the benefits outlined above, New Colombo Plan Fellows (the top-ranked scholar in each location) will be awarded $1,000 to purchase study materials for use during their Scholarship Program.

Scholarship Details

All undergraduate degrees

Level of study:

  • Applicants must be undertaking a Bachelor’s degree level programme (Pass or Honours) at a domestic, onshore Australian university campus, at the commencement of the scholarship. Applicants must be in at least the second year of their programme at the commencement of the scholarship.
  • Applicants must be admitted in an Australian university at the time of application and throughout their scholarship. Applicants must receive credit for their overseas study programme towards their degree at their home Australian university.

Applicants must:

  • be an Australian Citizen;
  • not be a current citizen or permanent resident of their proposed Primary Location or any Secondary Location;
  • be enrolled in an Australian university at the time of application and throughout their scholarship;
  • be between 18 and 28 (inclusive) years of age as at 1 January 2021;
  • be undertaking a Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree when the Scholarship Program commences;
  • be at least the second year of your program when the Scholarship Program commences;
  • be high achieving students with a minimum Course Weighted Average (CWA) of 70*;
  • not be undertaking another Australian Government funded off-shore scholarship at the commencement of, or concurrently with the Scholarship Program;
  • not be a previous recipient of a New Colombo Plan Scholarship; and
  • not be an employee of the branch of DFAT that administers the NCP.

(*) First year students without CWA can still apply as long as CWA will be available by 15 July 2020.

Additionally, the applicant’s proposed scholarship program must:

  • be undertaken in one of the eligible Indo-Pacific destinations;
  • not be undertaken at a host institution in a region with a travel advice classification of Level 4 by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT);
  • not be undertaken at an offshore campus of an Australian university in the host destination unless no alternative arrangements are feasible; and
  • commence between 1 January and 15 December 2021

Please note:

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.

Application process

Application process


8 June 2020 - Expression of interest submission closes at Curtin University

Late June 2020 - Shortlisted students will be required to undergo a police check as part of NCP Scholarship Nomination process organised by Curtin Scholarships Office.

17 July 2020 - Outcome of Curtin nomination process available via Official Communication Channel within Student OASIS

22 July 2020 - NCP team will send nominated students application guide and an invitation to complete application at online application

18 Aug 2020 - Applications close at 11.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)

Sep 2020 - Applications are shortlisted and shortlisted applicants are notified

Sep/Oct 2020 - Shortlisted applicants are interviewed (online / video platform)

Nov 2020 - All successful and unsuccessful applicants are notified of the outcome of their application

Dec 2020 - Successful scholars published on NCP website

1 Jan – 15 Dec 2021 - Successful scholars undertake their NCP program


Stage 1: Expression of Interest

Step 1: Download

  • Expression of interest form along with other useful documents available to download form right hand side of this page when scholarship is open for expression of interest

Step 2: Research & Planning

  • Read the 2021 NCP Scholarship Guidelines and the sample Scholarship Agreement
  • Identify and select your host location and institution in the region where you can receive full-time credits towards your current course of study
  • Visit Curtin Go Global website for more information on student exchange and our exchange partners
  • Or research and find a non-partner university in the region where you can receive full-time credits towards your current course of study
  • Find two referees who know you very well and able to articulate your abilities and potential against the selection criteria
  • Important / useful information should be read before you commence your application. You will need to have a great understanding of the New Colombo Plan's objectives and be able to articulate how you and your study plan can contribute towards the program's objectives and benefit Australia. Download from top right hand side of this page when scholarship is open for expression of interest.

Step 3: Submit

  • Closing date listed at top of page and on expression of interest form
  • Late or incomplete applications will be assessed as ineligible
  • Following documentation must be submitted as part of expression of interest process
    • proof of Australian Citizenship (a copy of birth certificate, current passport or citizen certificate)
    • proof of study abroad programme arrangement (*)
    • a list of exchange partners from the Curtin Go Global Office, or
    • an evidence that a host university offers a study abroad program and units available in English (E.g. a print out from a host university website) statement and supporting documents against selection criteria statement
    • 2 reference letters attesting the applicant's significant merit, abilities and potential in relation to the selection criteria
    • consent form to undergo a National Police Check for the purpose of the scholarship application (if shortlisted for nomination)

(*) Applicants do not require evidence of acceptance at their host university at the time of expression of interest stage. However, at the time of submitting their application (after the nomination process), applicants must provide at least one of the following pieces of documentation confirming their affiliation with their host institution:

  • a copy of a partnership agreement between the applicant’s Home University and the Host Institution
  • a letter from the applicant’s Home University outlining partnership arrangements to allow for Commencement between 1 January 2020 and 15 December 2021
  • an email or letter from the applicant or the applicant’s Home University to the proposed Host Institution indicating the student is in the process of applying for a New Colombo Plan Scholarship and, if successful, they would be seeking to undertake a study program at that proposed Host Institution.

Step 4: Receipt

  • Application receipt will be sent to student email within 10 working days of receiving expression of interest

Step 5: Assessment

  • Applications will be assessed by an assessment panel using the following criteria:
    • Academic excellence at the tertiary level (25 per cent weighting)
      Assessment of this criterion will relate to a) the applicant's course weighted average (CWA) 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 goals (25 per cent weighting)
      Assessment of this criterion will relate to the applicant’s understanding of New Colombo Plan objectives, and how the applicant and their proposed Scholarship Program would contribute to New Colombo Plan goals.
    • Other Considerations
      Where applicants have similarly meritorious claims in relation to the selection criteria, preference may be given to applicants proposing longer periods of study, an Internship/Mentorship, language training and/or representation of diversity.

Step 6: Outcome

  • Shortlisted students will be required to undergo a police check as part of NCP Scholarship Nomination process organised by Curtin Scholarships Office
  • Outcome of nomination process will be available on 17 July 2020 via Official Communication

Expression of interest must be submitted in one of the following ways:
(Submit your completed expression of interest form with all the required documentation. Incomplete expression of interest will not be accepted)

Subject: 2021 NCP Scholarship Expression of Interest, Student ID, Full name
Accepted Formats are:
1.    PDF (preferred)
2.    JPEG
3.    JPG
4.    DOC
All other formats will NOT be accepted

Stage 2 - Nomination and Application Process

  • Curtin University will nominate up to 10 scholarship applicants.
  • Nominated students will receive application guidance and an invitation to complete online application at the NCP website on 22 July 2020. (**)
  • Nominated students are strongly encouraged to attend the workshops organised by Curtin University during July-August 2020.
  • Applicants must submit their application and supporting documentation online by 11:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on 18 August 2020.

(**) Applicants are strongly encouraged to commence their online application process as early as possible and provide their two referees contact details so that referees will have sufficient time to provide well considered reports online against the selection criteria.


Stage 3 - Selection Process

  • New Colombo Plan Scholars will be selected through a competitive, merit-based selection process.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be advised in September 2020 and a face-to-face interview with an interview panel will be scheduled during September - October 2020 in Canberra.
  • Interview panels may comprise representatives from among the following: government officials, members of the business community, academics, diplomatic corps representatives or others as determined appropriate.
  • The travel and accommodation costs associated with attending an interview in Canberra will be covered by the New Colombo Plan.
  • All successful and unsuccessful applicants will be advised by the New Colombo Plan Scholarship team regarding the outcome of their application in November 2020.
  • Successful scholars will commence their programs between 1 January and 15 December 2021.
  • Successful scholars will be announced ad their details are published on the New Colombo Plan website in December 2020.
  • The top-ranked candidate for each location will be acknowledged as a New Colombo Plan Fellow. Fellows are encouraged to play a strong role in promoting the New Colombo Plan while on their Scholarship Program, and as part of the alumni network on their return.


Useful resources
Curtin Leadership Centre: A series of modules available online at Curtin Challenge on skills ranging from professionalism to self-awareness.


Note from the NCP Secretariat

  • Travel to any host location will be subject to the Australian Government's Smartraveller travel advice at the time of travel. (Scholars must not travel to a host location or region within a host location for which the Smartraveller advisory recommends 'Do not travel' or 'Reconsider your need to travel' at the time of travel, as per section 5.5.4 of the scholarship guidelines). In light of the current Australian government travel restrictions, Curtin Scholarships Office and Curtin Go Global Office will work with each nominee to ensure that, in the event that these travel restrictions are not lifted in 2021, there would be flexibility in their university degree such that they can defer their proposed NCP study component to 2022 (if required). The NCP Secretariat will allow 2021 scholars to defer their NCP study component to 2022 if travel restrictions are not lifted in 2021. 

Enrolment Requirements


Changes to Enrolment



For enquiries relating to scholarships nomination and applications process, please contact the Scholarships Office

Scholarships Office

For questions relating to the host institution and exchange components, please contact the Study Abroad and Student Exchange Office.

Go Global Office

Further Information

Tips on writing a successful NCP scholarship application (NCP Videos)

Below are links to videos with information on the NCP program, including why students should apply for a NCP scholarship, tips on how to write a good NCP scholarship application and NCP scholar success stories. I encourage you to share this at your university including to nominated students.

Why should you apply for a New Colombo Plan scholarship?

Tips on writing a successful NCP scholarship application

New Colombo Plan “Your questions answered”

New Colombo Plan “Scholar Stories”

New Colombo Plan - Scholarship Application Tips by Global Society

New Colombo Plan website
For more information on the New Colombo Plan, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website at:

Facebook Live

The NCP Secretariat will host a Facebook Live session on Thursday 23 July 2020 at 2pm AEST to provide an opportunity for nominated students to seek additional advice about the application process. The session will be accessible through the NCP Facebook page. We encourage students who are submitting their expression of interest to Curtin Scholarships Office to submit your questions in advance to so we can forward your questions to the NCP Secretariat by Tuesday 21 July 2020. The NCP Secretariat will endeavour to answer these questions and other live questions during the Facebook Live session.


For advice on your Centrelink payments and how your scholarship could affect your payment please see or contact a Centrelink Office.  If you require a letter about your scholarship for Centrelink, please contact the Scholarships Office. 



Generally scholarship money paid to full-time students is not treated as taxable income, but if your study load is less than 75 credits (part-time) your scholarship money is not tax exempt. Other than the full-time study requirement, the general rule is that scholarships are exempt from taxation unless:

  • it is a condition of the scholarship that a recipient is required to undertake activities that are of use, help or benefit to the scholarship provider - then the student is rendering a service by agreeing to undertake those activities;
  • during or upon completion of the degree for which the scholarship is awarded a candidate is required to become, or shall continue to be, an employee of the funding body; or
  • an award is received by a student where the scholarship is not provided principally for educational purposes.

The Australian Tax Office has a tool to help you determine if your scholarship is taxable.  For expert advice please contact the Australian Taxation Office or your accountant when completing your annual Tax Return.  If a letter regarding your scholarship is required for taxation purposes, please contact the Scholarships Office.