What is the mission of AIEF?
AIEF’s mission is to empower young Indigenous people to build a brighter future for themselves and for the nation.

Why was AIEF established?
AIEF was established to replicate and scale the work of the St Joseph’s College Indigenous Fund (SJCIF) with a national program providing scholarships, career support and employment to Indigenous students in financial need.

ABS figures show Australians with a Year 12 qualification are more likely to be employed; to pursue higher education; and to earn a higher income than Australians who do not complete Year 12. This is the case even more so for Indigenous Australians.

How does AIEF operate?
AIEF provides scholarships which enable Indigenous students in financial need to attend some of Australia’s leading schools and universities, as well as career and mentoring support to ensure students make a successful transition from school to further studies or employment.

The AIEF Team works with hard heads, soft hearts and capable hands to deliver scholarships and support through AIEF’s two core programs: the AIEF Scholarship Program and the AIEF Pathways Program.

These programs are part of AIEF’s transparent model, which has been designed to operate sustainably for the long term, and which ensures AIEF can support each scholarship student to the completion of their secondary and/or tertiary education.

Under this model AIEF allocates 85% of income to the AIEF Scholarship Fund and the remaining 15% to AIEF’s operating reserve, making AIEF one of the most efficient, low cost non-profit organisations in Australia.

How does AIEF measure success?
AIEF measures the success of its programs in terms of the rate of student success, which is defined as Year 12 completion followed by a successful transition into employment or tertiary studies.

AIEF continuously monitors the success of its programs and reports on its programs annually in May. AIEF Annual Reports also include transparent and detailed financial accounts.

You can view a copy of our latest Annual Report here.

What has AIEF achieved?
AIEF has grown from one scholarship in 2008 to offer around 400 scholarships each year at 29 Educational Partners and universities across Australia.

AIEF has consistently achieved annual retention and Year 12 completion rates and career transition rates above 90% since funding its first scholarship in 2008.

How can I make a donation?

First of all, thank you! With your support we are able to help even more Indigenous children access quality education and employment pathways. You can make a donation online here or by mailing a cheque or completed donation form to:

Australian Indigenous Education Foundation

Suite 2A, Level 2

2-12 Foveaux Street

Surry Hills NSW 2010

If you would like to discuss a donation, please contact AIEF Executive Director Andrew Penfold AM.

If you would like to make a donation via bank transfer please email advancement@aief.com.au.


Is my donation tax deductible?

AIEF has tax-deductible Gift Recipient Status and is endorsed by the ATO as an Income Tax Exempt Charity, which means that all donations to AIEF over $2 are tax deductible.
Click here to view AIEF’s DGR and ITEC certificates.

If you make a donation online, a tax receipt will be issued to the email address you provide. For mailed cheque donations, receipts are posted to the mailing address provided.

How does AIEF select its Partner Schools?

AIEF’s role is to empower Indigenous families to make key decisions affecting their own family, including how and where their children are educated. AIEF does not advocate that any Indigenous child should go to boarding school nor does AIEF promote boarding school as the best educational option. Consistent with the principle of self-determination, AIEF responds to self-generated demand from Indigenous families and provides co-funding for those families who choose a school themselves, initiate the enrolment application process and financially contribute to the school fees.

Since AIEF’s inception in 2008, we have established partnerships with schools that:

  • have a strong alignment of values, purpose and mission;
  • have mutual respect, willingness to engage and enthusiasm for AIEF and our programs;
  • have a track record of successfully supporting Indigenous students to Year 12 completion; and
  • offer a culturally inclusive and welcoming environment for students.

AIEF seeks to form partnerships with schools that want to secure a sustainable source of funding to support the growth of their existing Indigenous education program.

Each AIEF Partner School’s Indigenous education program is run and led autonomously by the school itself, and they enrol Indigenous students through a variety of different programs, organisations and funding arrangements. This approach to Indigenous education is what we call a ‘school-led’ model. It acknowledges that each school is independent, with differences in culture, local context, historical origins, values, beliefs, teaching styles, leadership, ethos and approaches to Indigenous culture, education, pastoral care, parental engagement and student support.

Accordingly, AIEF Partner Schools are solely and autonomously responsible for:

  • Achieving educational outcomes for scholarship students
  • Liaison and engagement with the students’ families and communities
  • Indigenous cultural activities
    • Applications, enrolment and student admission
  • Nomination of students for AIEF scholarships and their eligibility for the scholarship
  • Education delivery
  • Pastoral care
  • Student safety, health and wellbeing
  • Supporting delivery of the AIEF Pathways Program
Am I eligible?

To be eligible for an AIEF Scholarship a student needs to:

  • Be an Indigenous Australian.
  • Be eligible for and in receipt of ABSTUDY.
  • Be likely to successfully complete Year 12 with the academic, pastoral and cultural support available at the AIEF Partner School.
  • Be accepted for enrolment as a boarder at the AIEF Partner School.
  • Not be receiving any other scholarship.
  • Be enthusiastic about attending the AIEF Partner School.
  • Be in financial need.
  • Have parents/family who have demonstrated support and encouragement for the enrolment and the scholarship.
  • Have parents/family who have committed to making a financial contribution to the expenses.
  • Have a completed AIEF Scholarship Application Form.
  • Have finished the School Year at the AIEF Partner School.

Additionally, the AIEF Partner School should agree that it has the appropriate resources (educational and pastoral) to support the student’s likelihood to successfully complete Year 12 at the school.

How do I apply?

There are a variety of aspects of a school that a family will look at when considering the suitability for their child including location, gender, academic offerings, extra-curricular activities, learning support, pastoral care and Indigenous cultural activities.

Given that AIEF Scholarship Students and Alumni come from over 400 home communities around Australia and have varying levels of connection to their Indigenous culture, it is not surprising that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to Indigenous cultural activities.As such, it is the responsibility of each AIEF Partner School to consult with the communities that they work with and decide how they ensure Indigenous students feel culturally welcomed, included, celebrated and supported, and parents will discuss these things directly with schools throughout their child’s journey.

To apply for an AIEF Scholarship prospective students and families need to complete an AIEF Scholarship Application Form in addition to any other enrolment forms and processes the school may have in place.

I am not a boarding student – can I still receive an AIEF Scholarship?

AIEF Scholarships are currently only available for Indigenous boarding students enrolled at AIEF Partner Schools.

AIEF also offers Tertiary Scholarships in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney and you can read more information about this below.

What does the scholarship cover?

The AIEF Scholarship amount for each student varies depending on a number of factors, including ABSTUDY entitlements; level of boarding and tuition fees at the relevant AIEF Partner School; any applicable fee discounts; the parental contribution to school fees, based on a means-tested scale linked to the family income; and other costs depending on the individual needs of the student. AIEF Scholarships also provide students with participation in the AIEF Pathways Program, including travel and accommodation for participation in events and activities.

I am not studying at an AIEF Partner School – can I still receive an AIEF Scholarship?

AIEF Scholarships are only available at AIEF Partner Schools. Click here for a full list of AIEF Partner Schools.

Does AIEF offer primary school scholarships?

AIEF Scholarships are currently only available for Indigenous boarding students in secondary school enrolled at AIEF Partner Schools.

Does AIEF offer tertiary scholarships?

AIEF offers Tertiary Scholarships in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney. These scholarships support Indigenous students to attend the University by covering the cost of accommodation and providing a living allowance to enable students to access the support they need to excel in their studies.

AIEF does not provide scholarships for certificate courses such as courses offered at TAFE.

What does the AIEF-UTS Scholarship cover?
  • The cost of accommodation up to a maximum of A$20,000 each year. Support is available for students living in residential and non-residential accommodation. Please contact AIEF for more information about support for residential and non-residential accommodation costs.
  • A living allowance of A$10,000 each year.

Am I eligible for the AIEF-UTS Scholarship?

To be eligible for an AIEF-UTS Scholarship a student needs to:

  • Be an Indigenous Australian;
  • Be (or will be on enrolment) a University student who is residing, or intends to reside, at a UTS Housing Service Residence or a Private Residence (as approved by AIEF);
  • Be eligible for ABSTUDY;
  • Not be funded by any other scholarship program;
  • Be in need of financial assistance;
  • Be willing to participate in the AIEF Pathways Program;
  • Be enthusiastic about the educational opportunity offered by the University;
  • Have provided the University with a signed copy of the AIEF Tertiary Application Form; and
  • Be: (A) an AIEF funded secondary student that is undertaking an undergraduate degree at the University; or
  • (B) completed one year or more of their current undergraduate degree with a credit average or higher academic grade (to date); or
  • (C) completed one year or more of their current undergraduate degree with honours; or
  • (D) undertaking a post-graduate degree.

How do I apply for the AIEF-UTS Scholarship?

For more information about the application process, please contact Maree Graham, UTS Coordinator Indigenous Recruitment and Outreach.

What is the AIEF Pathways Program?

As part of the offering for scholarship students, AIEF also provides the AIEF Pathways Program to help students with their careers when they complete their studies. The AIEF Pathways Program aims to:

  • Prepare scholarship students for their careers while they are at school.
  • Support scholarship students with one-on-one career support as they make the transition from their education to their careers.
  • Monitor and track students’ career progression and provide ongoing career support as needed.

My organisation offers opportunities for young Indigenous people. Can you put me in contact with any students who are interested?

If you are offering a traineeship, apprenticeship or other opportunities for young Indigenous people, our team would welcome the opportunity to find out more to identify students who may be interested. If you would like to discuss an opportunity, please contact us.

Who can participate in the AIEF Pathways Program?

The AIEF Pathways Program is open to AIEF Scholarship Students and Alumni. Specific activities are tailored to the needs of students at different year levels.

Are AIEF Scholarship Students encouraged to return to their communities after graduating?

AIEF supports its Scholarship Students and Alumni to pursue tertiary studies or employment wherever they choose to live. Some students decide to return to their home community and AIEF supports this choice by facilitating work or study opportunities in students’ home communities. Other students decide to live in another location and to pursue work or study opportunities there, and AIEF equally supports this choice.

What are the volunteer opportunities available at AIEF?

AIEF works with its stakeholders to deliver programs and activities including the AIEF Mentor Program. Volunteering opportunities within the AIEF Pathways Program are available to employees of AIEF’s stakeholders and partners.

There are some opportunities outside these programs for skilled volunteers, such as photographers. If you are interested in volunteering your time or professional services, please contact us.

Can somebody from AIEF speak at my function or event?

AIEF representatives may be available to speak about AIEF and its programs at functions, events or conferences around the topics of Indigenous education and career pathways for young Indigenous Australians.

If you would like to discuss a speaking opportunity at your upcoming function or event, please contact us.


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