Aboriginal early childhood education scholarships

These early childhood education scholarships have been developed to help address the shortage of Aboriginal early childhood teachers in NSW and ensure children have access to inclusive and culturally appropriate education programs.

Up to 15 scholarships of up to $20,000 each are offered to support Aboriginal students wishing to complete an early childhood education bachelor degree.

Applications are open from 3 November 2017 to 31 January 2018.

About the scholarship

The scholarships go beyond financial assistance, with the Department of Education supporting scholarship recipients throughout their studies by linking them with mentoring programs and other support.

The program will link students with an appropriate mentor for the duration of their studies.

An increase in Aboriginal early childhood teachers will help ensure that Aboriginal perspectives are embedded in early childhood education, and that preschools are welcoming and inclusive places for all children.

Scholarship awards

Up to 15 scholarships will be awarded every year from 2018 to 2020.

Successful applicants will be offered a scholarship of up to $20,000 to complete a four-year bachelor level early childhood teaching qualification.

Eligibility criteria

Interested applicants do not need to be currently working in the education sector to apply. To be eligible to apply for an Aboriginal Early Childhood Teaching Scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • Identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person
  • Be accepted as such by the community in which you live or have lived
  • Be a resident of NSW
  • Intend to enrol or already be enrolled in a bachelors degree leading to a four-year university early childhood teaching qualification recognised by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)
  • Not be in receipt of any other scholarship funding related to the course for which the scholarship is sought, with the exception of:
    • Scholars currently taking part in the ECED Rural and Remote ECT scholarship program who satisfy the remaining criteria. These scholars will be invited to transfer into the first round of the program. Further payments for these scholars will be adjusted according to payments already received under the Rural and Remote scholarship program.

Application process

Applications are open via SmartyGrants from 3 November 2017 to 31 January 2018.

Applicants will be asked to supply:

  • Verified copy of proof of identity
  • Details of the degree in which they intend to enrol in/are enrolled in
  • A supporting statement detailing motivation to engage in early childhood education as a career
  • Details of any prior early childhood qualifications
  • Details of employment if currently employed within an early childhood education service.


  • Successful applicants will be offered a scholarship of up to $20,000 to complete a four-year early childhood teaching qualification
  • Payments will be made via EFT in instalments over the course of the degree
  • Payments will be proportional to the study load undertaken by successful applicants, as well as whether study is undertaken in semesters or trimesters
  • Two payments will be made each semester/trimester:
    • An initial payment following proof of enrolment at the point of the HECS census date
    • A second payment following proof of completion at the end of each semester/trimester
  • Payments for successful applicants who are currently completing their qualification or transferring to the program from the ECED Rural and Remote ECT scholarship program will be adjusted to reflect a total proportional to the number of units required to complete the qualification.

Use of Funds

  • Successful applicants will be required to sign a Deed of Agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the scholarship
  • Scholarship recipients can decide how best to use funds to support their studies. This may include, but is not limited to, purchase or hire of textbooks and resources, costs associated with attending study sessions, technology to support study, or course fees
  • Scholarship recipients may defer their study for a maximum of 12 months, with the department's prior approval.


The department will contact applicants about the outcome of their application in February 2017.

Contact details

For more information about the Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Scholarships, please contact:

Early Childhood Education Directorate
Aboriginal Services team
1300 755 426

For more information regarding accredited teacher education programs please visit the Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority website.

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