A petition launched last Friday by the Sydney University Chinese Students and Scholars Association (SUCSA) calls on the university to provide international students with more information regarding financial assistance.
This was in response to many international students not receiving confirmation of financial support, despite an email sent out by the university informing students that all applications of Travel Ban Financial Aid would be processed before May 15th.
Additionally, the process of having a financial support application approved has become increasingly difficult since its inception, with many international students who are suffering from financial difficulties showing anger about the change in group chats.
The university also promised that Chinese students who arrived in Australia through a country not included in the travel ban would receive financial aid.
Students who have been refused this support have predominantly been told that they have sufficient balance in their bank account already, or did not submit a bank statement on time.
The petition letter sent to Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Susanna Scarparo claimed that the webpage that students were told to upload their bank statements to was closed before the deadline.
The letter states: “ In the email, it was stated that students have until the 4th of May, 9 am, to upload their bank statements. However, the link was closed on the 3rd of May without any prior notice.”
A large number of students chose to submit complaints due to ignorance and lack of explanation from university.
The petition mainly outlines three demands :
- Make the selection criteria for application approval public.
- Provide explanations for students who received different amounts of money, and reasons for the early closure of the link.
- Provide all students who applied with an update of their application status.
Vikki Qin, a current USU Board Candidate and a member of SUCSA , told Honi that “The way that the University processes financial support lacks transparency. The standards for approving the financial aid is unknown and it seems to be very random. There was also very ineffective communication between the university and students as most students did not receive emails for updates. We don’t really know what happened here.”
Another student, Tornado Shen, who studies a Master of Commerce at USyd, noted his anger at the lack of response from the University, even though he claims he applied for financial aid earlier than most other students.
International students’ representatives are set to meet with Dr Scarparo on May 26th to work towards a fair and transparent dealing process.
More to come.