Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship Guidelines

Ida West Health Scholarship

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Scholarship Overview


Respected Aboriginal Elder, Aunt Ida West passed away in September 2003 after a long illness. Aunty Ida had been a long time campaigner, and advocate for her people and worked very closely with politicians and Government officials.

Aunty Ida was a very generous contributor to the Department of Health (DoH) and was widely recognised for the significant contribution she made to social justice and reconciliation both in Tasmania and on a National level.

Aunty Ida spent many years negotiating at all levels of government and was a tireless worker within the Aboriginal community. As well as the many other awards she received for her work, Aunty Ida was named NAIDOC National Female Elder of the Year in 2002, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. At the 2003, NAIDOC National Awards Ceremony in Hobart Aunty Ida was also recognised with a Special Achievement Award.

To pay tribute to the life and work of Aunty Ida, the DoH has established an annual Scholarship in her name. The Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship provides financial assistance to Aboriginal students completing a formal qualification at university or vocational education such as TAFE in a health and or human services related field.

The scholarship was established in 2004. These guidelines were reviewed and updated in October 2020.

Aim and purpose of the Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship

The scholarship aims to address the under-representation of Aboriginal people in health professions and other health and human services related occupations.

There are significant barriers to Aboriginal people entering formal studies due to a range of factors including:

  • the older age profile of Aboriginal students and the need to provide financial support for dependent children and extended families
  • significant travel and relocation costs associated with formal accredited study, particularly in Tasmania where many students are forced to seek entry to courses offered in other states due to the limited availability of courses in Tasmania
  • barriers to access where courses are provided
  • Aboriginal people continue to have very poor health and well-being outcomes when compared to the rest of the Australian population. Increasing the number of Aboriginal people with formal post secondary qualifications in a range of health and human services related occupations will lead to improved employment outcomes for individual Aboriginal people and will also contribute to the positive health and well-being of the Aboriginal community as a whole
  • an increase in the number of Aboriginal people with formal qualifications in various health and human services related occupations may help to increase the use of services by Aboriginal people. This, in turn, may help to address the significant over-representation of Aboriginal people across a range of negative health and well-being indicators. Increasing the numbers of qualified Aboriginal people will also help to introduce an Aboriginal perspective to a range of occupations. This may lead to an increased awareness and sensitivity towards Aboriginal needs in a range of areas.

The family of Aunty Ida has been consulted in the development of this scholarship scheme and has consented to its naming in recognition of Aunty Ida’s significant achievements and contribution.

Scholarship Details

About the Scholarship

The scholarship is open only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Scholarships will be awarded each year with a total maximum value per scholarship of $5 000 per year up to a maximum value of $15 000 for each scholarship.

The Scholarships will be paid in equal instalments to the scholarship holder at the beginning of each year, subject to ongoing satisfactory academic performance and evidence of further enrolment in the specified course.

Scholarship holders who have already completed part of their course will not be entitled to receive backdated payments for parts of the course already completed.


The Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship is open to persons eligible for Tasmanian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services.

Like the Australian Government, the Tasmanian Government uses a three part test to determine Eligibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services. The three part test requires a person to:

  1. have Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander ancestry, and;
  2. self-identify as an Aboriginal person and/or Torres Strait Islander, and;
  3. be recognised as an Aboriginal person and/or Torres Strait Islander by the Aboriginal and/or Torres   Strait Islander community in which they live or have lived.1

Please complete and submit an eligibility form with your application if you have not previously been assessed for Eligibility for Tasmanian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services.

To download the Eligibility Form or to access further information regarding Eligibility visit the Department of Communities website

If you require assistance with Confirmation from an Aboriginal organisation, you can contact the Office of Aboriginal Affairs by phone on (03) 6165 8366 or email

People found to be eligible under the previous Tasmanian Government Policy on Eligibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific programs and services are not required to complete the eligibility form to access Tasmanian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services.  

If you have answered yes to being previously assessed for Eligibility for Tasmanian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services please provide on your application the name of the specific program and service.


Scholarship applicants must be:

  • current residents of Tasmania, or
  • intending to move to Tasmania to commence study in Tasmania in the year that the scholarship applies.

Applicants cannot be intending to be in full time employment while completing their qualification. For the purpose of this scholarship, full time employment is defined as 34 hours or more per week. This may include casual employment.2

Students who are being supported under the Australian Apprenticeship scheme are not eligible.

Students whose study is being fully financially supported by an employer are not eligible.

Eligible courses

All intending students who have applied for a full time formal accredited health or human services related undergraduate course at university or an accredited health or human services related Vocational Education and Training (VET) course offered by a registered training organisation are eligible to apply.

Courses must be accredited and part of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

A course is classified as full-time if it is:

  • a higher education course classified as full-time by the institution and with a HECS weighting; or
  • provided as the maximum study load available for that specific Vocational Educational Training (VET) Course.

Part-time courses may also be considered for the scholarship if:

  • the qualification is not available on a full time basis and the applicant is enrolled in the maximum possible number of units; and
  • the applicant provides a statement outlining their reasons for enrolling in the qualification part time. The assessment panel will review these statements on an individual basis.

Priority will be given to applicants intending to study in Tasmania, or interstate if the qualification is not available in Tasmania.

Tasmanian residents enrolling in qualifications interstate which are available in Tasmania will be eligible, but not given priority.

The scholarships are not available for post-graduate award courses (including Honours degrees).

The scholarships are not available for pre-tertiary preparatory courses.

Courses that are wholly conducted by correspondence, distance education or online may be considered if the qualification, or similar qualification, is not available in any other format.

Career pathways

Some students may achieve qualifications through the process of a staged career pathway.

A career pathway may consist of VET qualifications (e.g. Certificate III, IV, Diploma, or Advanced Diploma) or VET qualifications leading to, and providing credit towards, a degree qualification. For example, a student may commence with a certificate IV course, progress to a diploma, and then enrol in a degree. The intended career pathway should be clearly outlined in the application.

Applicants who have previously received a scholarship of less than the maximum three years may be eligible for additional scholarship support if the course is part of a career pathway which includes the original qualification.

Applicants who have previously received a scholarship must provide details of their career pathway when applying for an additional scholarship.

Courses at the same qualification level are not eligible for additional scholarships. For example a student who has received a scholarship for a Certificate IV in Aged Care is not eligible if they then enrol in a Certificate IV in Disability Services.

Scholarship recipients cannot receive more than a total of $15,000 across all scholarships awarded.

Selection process

All applications will be assessed by the DoH according to the following criteria:

  • student eligibility (see Eligibility section above)
  • course eligibility (see eligible courses section above)
  • the application meets the minimum standards specified on the application form.

All applicants meeting the above criteria will be considered for the scholarship.

If the number of applicants assessed as eligible for the scholarship meets the number of scholarships available, no further selection processes will be required.

If the number of applicants assessed as eligible exceeds the number of scholarships available, the DoH will prepare a shortlist to be referred to an assessment panel.

The following will be prioritised when preparing the shortlist:

  • courses which are being completed in Tasmania, unless they are not available in the state
  • full time students or VET sector equivalent.

The assessment panel may be consulted to assess the eligibility of applicants completing part-time, distance or interstate courses, where the eligibility of the course is not clear.

The Assessment Panel

The assessment panel, if convened, will be made up of a minimum of two, and a maximum of three people.

The assessment panel should be made up of the following:

  • a person nominated by the West family. The West family will always be provided with the opportunity to nominate a person for the panel.
  • an Aboriginal DoH employee nominated by the DoH Secretary.
  • the DoH Secretary can choose to nominate an additional person.

The assessment panel will assess the applications using the following criteria:

  • the relative likelihood that an applicant will complete his or her studies: and
  • the likely contribution that the qualification, once completed, will make to the health of the Aboriginal community.

The committee may ask short listed applicants for additional information. The opportunity for applicants to be offered an interview will be determined by the assessment panel.  If the number of shortlisted applicants exceeds five, the panel may conduct additional short-listing.

The assessment panel will make their recommendations to the Secretary DoH.

Payment of the Scholarship

The scholarship will be paid to successful applicants in equal instalments based on academic years.

Commencement of payments will be determined by the assessment panel in accordance with the scholarship processes and will be based on individual circumstances relating to course enrolment N.B. payment will not be retrospective and will align with course enrolment.

Students who have already completed part of a course will be paid for each year remaining, up to a maximum of three years.

Students who are completing a course which is not full time will receive a pro-rata amount based on the minimum length of the course and the minimum time required to complete the course. These students will be eligible for a maximum of three years payment, regardless of the pro-rata amount received.

Payment each year will be made once proof of enrolment beyond the HECS census date (usually a date in March for UTAS) has been provided. In courses not subject to a HECS fee, the DoH will determine an appropriate date when proof of enrolment must be provided.

Students who have made changes to their enrolment must inform DoH of the details of these changes. If these changes include significant course changes or a change of institution, the assessment panel will need to be consulted before payment can be made.

If you have applied or are awarded another scholarship for your course please provide this information to the DoH, the assessment panel will need to be consulted before payment can be made.

Academic results

Successful scholarship holders will be required to supply an official transcript of their academic results at the end of each semester to be eligible to receive an instalment in the following year. Scholarship instalments will not be paid until academic results are provided and satisfactory progress is noted.

Scholarship holders must immediately advise the DoH of any changes to their course enrolment. Failure to advise of course changes may result in forfeiture of the scholarship.

Deferment of studies

Students who defer studies will automatically forfeit their scholarship.

Students returning to the same qualification from deferment may be eligible to reapply if they:

  • completed all years for which payment has already been received
  • informed DoH that they had deferred their studies within one month of their deferment.
Termination of a scholarship

DoH reserves the right to terminate a scholarship at any time under the following conditions:

  • failure to provide academic results
  • failure to advise of changes to course details
  • withdrawal from the course
  • enrolment cancelled by the institution
  • incorrect enrolment or personal details provided
  • unsatisfactory academic progress. This to be assessed by an internal DoH panel.
Work placements

The Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship does not provide for work placements.

Students who have been successful in obtaining a cadetship through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Cadetship Support program are welcome to apply for the Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship.


Scholarship holders are to make their own enquiries with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) regarding the status of the scholarship for income tax purposes.


Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship will be treated as income for the purposes of Centrelink income testing.

Students should make their own enquiries with Centrelink Indigenous Call Centre on 1800 136 380 for further information.

A statement outlining scholarship income can be provided to recipients on request.

Applying for a Scholarship

How to apply

Applicants must complete the application form available at Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship

Applicants must provide course enrolment details. If proof of enrolment is not available at the time of applying, a date when this information will be available must be stated. Applicants who have applied for enrolments at multiple institutions should state this on the application form.

An Eligibility form must also be completed as per the Eligibility section above.

The application must be received by the advertised closing date.


The DoH will not apply an income test as part of the eligibility requirements for the scholarship.

Contact details

Further information can be found on the Ida West Scholarship Website or by email:

Mailing Address

Department of Health
Office of the Chief Nurse and Midwife
Ida West Aboriginal Scholarships
GPO Box 125, Hobart TAS 7001.

Telephone  (03) 6166 1570

Updated: October 2020

1. Eligibility Policy

2. Applicants who work in excess of 34 hours per week will need to demonstrate how they intend to manage study and employment demands in their application.