QUT scholarships halved due to COVID-19
A PRESTIGIOUS Queensland university can only offer half the number of scholarships to disadvantaged students amid claims COVID-19 has affected its bottom line.
Queensland University of Technology is appealing for public donations from $25 to "major gifts" of $25,000 plus to help needy students get a degree.
The state's second largest university - which last year received $642.4 million in federal funding and made a profit of $88.4 million - awards around 2000 scholarships annually.
But in an impassioned letter to "alumni and friends", Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said: "The events of 2020 have touched us all … currently, QUT is only able to help half of the students who apply for scholarships each year."
Prof Sheil said many students were suffering "severe financial stress with the loss of part-time and casual jobs".
According to its 2019 annual report, the university was in good financial shape with "a strong balance sheet" due to "strong fiscal preparation over many years".
Last year it received almost $300 million in fees from its 52,500 students, 9800 of whom are international.
In the letter emailed on Friday, Prof Sheil said students under financial stress were less likely to complete their studies.
"As we emerge from isolation and into a seemingly changed world, our students need your help more than ever."
She said QUT would match dollar-for-dollar every donation to its Learning Potential Fund, doubling the impact of the gift.
The fund is the largest of its kind in Australia, distributing more than 25,000 scholarships since 1998.
Its fundraising target is $100 million and 700 staff regularly donate.
QUT was recognised as one of the top 20 young universities in the world in the 2020 QS rankings.
Originally published as QUT scholarships halved due to COVID-19