A Tertiary Residential College at The University of New South Wales
Shalom College offers AIEF Tertiary Scholarships to eligible students residing at the college.
Shalom College – 2017 Report
Dr Hilton Immerman OAM, Executive Director of Shalom Gamarada Indigenous Residential Scholarship Program
The Shalom Gamarada Scholarship Program was established to make a contribution to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through higher education and by increasing the number of Indigenous professionals. The program is now making an identifiable impact.
Since the program started in January 2005, 33 students have graduated, including 18 Aboriginal doctors. At the end of 2017, eight more students (five of whom as doctors) are likely to graduate.
In Australia in recent years, less than 50% of Indigenous students who commenced university completed their degrees – this is approximately 25% less than the rate for non-Indigenous students. This is largely due to the serious educational and socio-economic disadvantages which many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students face.
Our Indigenous scholarship holders have had a pass rate of well-over 90% in the past 7 years - which exceeds that of non-Indigenous Australians.
This success is all the more remarkable given the fact that most of these students are studying long-haul degrees like Medicine and Law, and are competing against the brightest and most privileged students from around Australia and the world.
Starting with one scholarship in 2005, Shalom College today has 18 Shalom Gamarada residential scholarship holders.
One of the many highlights occurred last year in 2016 when Renee Wootton, a young disadvantaged Tharwal woman, originally from Marlee NSW (near Taree) completed a Bachelor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering with Honours, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. She was able to do so because she lived in Shalom College on an AIEF-Shalom Gamarada Scholarship for five years. She now works as a graduate engineer with Qantas and was a finalist in the NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards for 2016/2017.
The program has won two major awards:
- The Pauline McLeod Reconciliation Award in May 2015. It was issued by the Eastern Region Local Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Forum which includes the councils of the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Randwick, Leichhardt and Botany.
- The prestigious LIME Award in November 2009 – issued by the Medical Deans of Australian and New Zealand Universities - as a model of best practice in the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal medical students.
The Scholarship Program’s Patron, Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Former Governor of NSW has said: “This is one of the most visionary and inspirational initiatives in support of young Australians in which I have had the privilege to be involved. We can declare with confidence – and gratitude – that the program is not only an investment in each of the young Australian beneficiaries, but a most valuable investment in our nation Australia.”
We are proud to partner with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation which has enabled us to increase the number of scholarships we have raised. Together, we are making a real difference to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
David Gonski AC, Chancellor of UNSW, AIEF Patron, and one of Australia’s most respected business leaders and company directors
“Only education can deliver the outcomes needed for an equitable society. Here we have a strategy which is making a real impact. Shalom Gamarada is showing what Indigenous students and graduates can achieve when they are given the chance.”
Jenna Owen – Graduated 2010
“Being an Indigenous student from a rural area, it would have been impossible for me to study Optometry, having to live so far away from home because of the financial stress of accommodation, living expenses and travel costs. The AIEF-Shalom Gamarada Scholarship made my dream a reality and enabled me to be the first member of my family to attend university. Receiving the AIEF-Shalom Gamarada Scholarship, and living in Shalom College, has been an amazing experience for me. The cultural adjustment to studying and living in the city was made smoother through the support I had from friends and staff at Shalom College.”
Dr Josef McDonald - Graduated 2011
“I lived at Shalom College for five years. It was a life-changing experience for me. I had time to study hard at uni, in a racism-free environment in which Indigenous students can live proudly. Without this scholarship, it would have been impossible for me to study medicine as there is no way my family could afford for me to live in Sydney.”
Dr Mitchell Sutton – Graduated 2015
“For six years, I lived at Shalom College, at the University of NSW on an AIEF-Shalom Gamarada scholarship. It provided me and many other Aboriginal students with a safe space, where we were proud to be Indigenous Australians. We not only supported one another but became part of the college’s multicultural network of residents. There was considerable educational support available through resources, tutors and study groups.
Moving from interstate, I particularly benefited from the instant group of friends and social opportunities college offered. The scholarship provided a roof over my head, regular meals and a great study environment. I did not have to juggle part-time work with study and spend time and money communing to and from university.
Teeyanna Tapim-Savage - 5th year Arts/Law and College Tutor 2016/2017
“Moving away from home, finding a place to live and being alone in a new city is very challenging. Living at Shalom College I have a family away from home. It provides us with guidance and support, to allow us to focus on our studies and help us succeed.”