该支持旨在帮助因旅行禁令而遭受经济困难的学生。大学网站上已明确指出了这一点。我们并没有发布评估申请的更详细标 - 这是大学所也资金补助的标准方法，并且与其他澳大利亚大学的做法一致。这封信里所概述的评估标准和证据性因素促成了我们的选择标准，供你们参考。我希望这有助于清晰的信息。为了回应您的反馈，我们还将在常规助学金（General Bursary）网站上发布选择标准，以帮助学生在申请前更全面地了解该过程。
有一点需要注意，我们将根据所给我们的证据来诠释和应用（上述的）这些标准。这笔补助从未打算所有通过第三国入境的人；它旨在为那些因通过第三国而陷入财务困境的人支持 - 这意味着他们难以支付其当下的生活费用。我们了解人们对财务困难的含义可能有不同的理解；但是，在整个过程中，我们优先考虑了最需要帮助的学生，并相应地分配了资金。
Susanna Scarparo 教授。
Dear Sydney University Chinese Student and Scholar Association，
Thank you for your feedback on the provision of the Travel Ban Hardship Support and for your action on behalf of the students who applied for this support. I take your concerns seriously and hope to provide more clarity through this response. I have investigated the issues raised with the relevant teams in Student Life and can now provide you with the requested information about the Travel Ban Hardship Support.
I thank you for the consideration you have shown in acknowledging the high workload placed on University staff during this process. We also agree that students are largely honest and genuine when applying for funding and the University makes every effort to assist where evidence of financial difficulty is clearly demonstrated.
I would like to start by providing background and context to the Travel Ban Hardship Support initiative and the process of implementing this support， which I hope will provide greater shared understanding. I will then address the five points you have made and the requested actions.
The Travel Ban Hardship Support initiative was announced by the Vice Chancellor on Friday March 6， 2020. This support initiative was created with the intention to support currently enrolled students who had incurred additional expenses as a result of the travel restrictions that resulted in financial difficulty. The motivation behind the creation of this initiative led to the development of two core selection criteria that informed the application and assessment process：
1 current enrolment at the University of Sydney；
2 demonstration of financial difficulty leading to a substantial impact on ability to support living expenses. This required provision of evidence.
Following the announcement from the Vice-Chancellor， an online enquiry form was created for students to submit expressions of interest in receiving funding. A deadline of 6 April was set for applications to be received. Advice was also displayed on the application that further information regarding the application process would be provided within 21 business days. On 23 March， an update was issued via University all applicants informing them that assessment on applications would commence after the census date of Semester 1 （31 March 2020）. This enabled us to ensure that students granted funding had fulfilled Criteria 1 as currently enrolled students.
When assessment began on 1 April following the census date， we identified that many students （approximately 20%） were not currently enrolled， and thus did not meet Criteria 1. Furthermore， most had not demonstrated financial difficulty through the application form， which meant that we could not assess Criteria 2 properly with the information provided. We then contacted all applicants via the had provided in the application form to inform them of an additional requirement to submit a bank statement as evidence of financial difficulty. A one-week deadline was provided. The requirement to provide evidence of financial difficulty is standard for our general bursaries and allows us to make a proper assessment of student needs. We then extended this deadline to allow more students the opportunity to provide their documentation and receive funding. We also sent reminders on 9 April and 21 April， as well as a general update on 1 May to ensure that all students had ample notice. We received a high volume of responses after each of these communications， which demonstrated the value of providing deadline extensions and reminders.
Unfortunately， one outcome of providing additional time for submission of documents was the delay in assessing and processing applications. We have now completed the process of assessing applications. In cases where documentation of financial difficulty was provided， the funds have already been awarded accordingly. We have awarded funding to 2084 students who provided documentation and were assessed as needing financial support. A very small percentage – approximately 2% - of the students who provided documentation did not receive any funding due to a lack of evidence of genuine financial difficulty.
Assessment of financial difficulty was undertaken based on several evidentiary factors in the provided documentation. The following scenarios resulted in assessments of ‘not experiencing financial difficulty’
Where documents provided an indication of other incoming financial streams；
Where transactions indicated significant spend on non-essential or luxury items。
Where there was evidence of sufficient funds in their bank account；
Where no information regarding upcoming transactional expenses had been provided.
All students who have been unsuccessful in the process have been notified of that outcome.
I hope this overview of the process helps in understanding the communications provided to date and the criteria for processing applications.
I will now respond to each of the points in your letter， which I hope will provide further insight into this process.
Point 1： Not all of the students who applied on time received the email.
The Universitys mailing tool was used to contact all students who applied for this funding. This is the same tool used for distributing newsletters and announcements and， to our knowledge， has been successful to date. I have been advised that a significant number of provided in applications were incorrect and the team investigated and corrected these to reflect the University in Sydney Student. This check and correction process unfortunately caused significant delays while emails were verified. However， we were ultimately able to contact these students via University email.
Point 2： It was not officially announced that students who do not submit their bank statements by 4 May will not receive financial support
Due to the lack of clarity around applicants’ levels of financial difficulty provided in the initial online form， it was determined that a bank statement would need to be provided to ensure assessment of Criteria 2. All students who applied were through the University’s tool and informed of the additional requirement. This information was sent twice， on 9 April and 21 April.
Point 3： The link in the students to upload their bank statements was closed before the deadline.
We acknowledge the link to upload bank statements had been incorrectly set to close 24 hours prior to the deadline provided. Upon being notified of the error， we amended our out-of-office to advise students to submit their statements via email. We received an additional 480 emails with statements as a result from the time of the form going offline to the deadline.
Point 4： The application and approval process is extremely opaque. Not only the communication with students was kept at a minimum， but the exact selection criteria were also unknown to students.
Communications with students were regular and ongoing， with updates provided to all applicants via University .
The support was intended for students experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the travel ban. This was clearly indicated on the University website. More detailed criteria for assessing applications were not published； this is the standard approach to all University funding and is consistent with the practices of other Australian universities. The assessment criteria and evidentiary factors outlined in this letter provide these selection criteria for your reference and I hope this helps in providing clarity. In response to your feedback， we are also publishing selection criteria on the general bursaries website to assist students with understanding that process more fully prior to application.
Point 5： There was a large difference in the amount of support received by students as the timeline drags on.
Point 6： The university pushed the deadline to finish all applications back time and again – from 21 business day to late April， and now， mid-May.
The initial communication regarding 21 business days was for further notification regarding the process to be provided to applicants； this was not a deadline for providing an outcome of their application. Within the 21 business days we advised students of the high number of applications received and thereafter continued to provide regular updates using University email. As discussed above， our efforts to ensure fairness to students by extending the deadlines， sending reminders， and correcting all contributed to delays in the processing time. We apologise for the delays experienced by students.
Finally， below are responses to your requests for action：
1. Make the selection criteria public.
To ensure that all students understand how funds were allocated and why they may not have received funding， we will provide a statement on the selection criteria on the website for the Travel Ban Hardship Support， as well as a summary of support provided to students given that applications have now been processed. In response to the feedback received and the lessons learned from the process of administering the Travel Ban Hardship Support， we will also post selection criteria on the General Bursaries website so that future applicants can be informed of the process prior to application. This is especially important now that the funding is available to international students， as we need to ensure that the process is transparent and understood by students who are applying.
It is important to keep in mind that selection criteria are interpreted and applied based on the evidence provided to us. The grant was never intended for all who entered via a third country to receive funding； it was intended to support those who found themselves in a state of financial difficulty as a result of coming through a third country， which means they have difficulty meeting their immediate living expenses. We understand that people may have different understanding of what financial difficulty means； however， we needed to prioritise the students most in need throughout this process and funds were allocated accordingly.
2. Provide explanations for
a. The difference in the amount of support received by different students
Please refer to the response to Point 5， which outlines reasons for discrepancies in funding.
b. The lack of communication between the University and students
To my knowledge there has not been a lack of communication between the University and students. As outlined above， multiple reminders were sent and all students who have been unsuccessful in receiving funds have been notified.
c. The early closure of the link to upload bank statements
Please refer to the response to Point 3， which outlines the reason for the early closure and the action taken to remedy the situation.
3. Provide all students who applied with an update of their application status.
All students who have to this point been unsuccessful were notified via University Friday 15 May.
The University of Sydney is committed to supporting our international students， particularly during this difficult time. We have created many other initiatives to support our students， including：
2. Provision of Coles food vouchers to international students in need of assistance with food security；
3. Adjusted payment plans for international students in University-provided accommodation；
4. Establishing a Peer Support Advisor team comprised of students who are fluent speakers of English and Mandarin to provide support with students in need of advice and support at this time；
I wish you all the best with your studies and with the challenges that come from navigating this difficult and uncertain time. I also thank you for advocating for your fellow students and for providing the opportunity to explain the situation further. I am happy to answer any further questions you may have.
Professor Susanna Scarparo
Pro Vice-Chancellor （Student Life）