Awardees with Disabilities

Australia is an inclusive society and has excellent services and facilities for students with disability.

Australian law

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires education to be provided in a non-discriminatory way to all students studying in Australia (regardless of nationality). The Disability Standards for Education 2005 require reasonable adjustments to be made to enable this non-discriminatory participation.

Definition of disability

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 a disability, in relation to a person, means:

  • total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;

and includes a disability that:

  • presently exists; or
  • previously existed but no longer exists; or
  • may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or
  • is imputed to a person.

To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.

Principles for supporting persons with disability in the scholarship program

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Development for All strategy makes a clear commitment to provide access to the aid program for people with disability.

The principles for the provision of disability support for Australia Awards Scholarship awardees are:

  • Reasonable adjustmentsshould be provided to allow Australia Awards Scholarship awardees with disability to participate in their award on an equal basis with all other award awardees.
  • Adjustments should be considered at the application, pre-mobilisation, and on- scholarship stages.
  • Australian institutions have an obligation to provide all students with reasonable adjustments to support their academic endeavours. The Australian Government provides ‘non-academic’ reasonable adjustments.
  • Each award recipient’s support requirements will be different and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Standard Scholarship Entitlements, for which all Australia Award Scholarship awardees are eligible, should not be used to fund disability support.
  • Additional DFAT funds for disability support should be allocated on a needs basis after a disability assessment, and form part of the value of the Scholarship.

Disability Support Agreement

The Australian aid program provides “reasonable adjustments” to enable identified people with disability to participate in the Australia Awards Scholarships on an equal basis with all other awardees. In that context, the Disability Support Agreement (DSA) provides details of the disability support package that DFAT will provide to Australia Awards Scholarship awardees with disability. The DSA is an addendum to the Australia Awards Scholarship contract with the Commonwealth of Australia signed by awardee with disability. The purpose of the support package provided through DSA is to enable awardees with disability to participate in the Australia Awards Scholarships on an equal basis with all other awardees. This support package has been developed based on a disability assessment conducted with Post and host institution in discussion with awardees with disability. For further details related to awardees with disability and DSA, please refer to Disadvantaged Applicants on the website or contact Aus4Skills on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further information

Further information on the Australian deficition of disability and the rights of people with disability in Australia is available on the Australian Human Rights Commission's website.

Additional information