The Public Education Foundation’s Acacia Program Scholarship provides financial assistance and mentoring/career advice to high potential students, in need, attending schools in the Shoalhaven region of NSW (See basic eligibility section for complete list of eligible schools).

The Acacia Program scholarship was designed to assist students in need who may otherwise not have the opportunity to reach their full potential.  The scholarships are available to eligible students currently enrolled in Year 10 in the listed schools.

The scholarship has been established to enable alumni of Australian public schools to give back to their school region, and to public education more broadly, through scholarships, mentoring and advocacy.  The scholarships aims to highlight to students the diversity of careers and possibilities available to them through the Australians who sponsor the award and have access to this network. We hope to show students:

  • Examples of people who have succeeded who come from where they come from, who they can relate to and see themselves in; and
  • Examples of people who are involved in a wide variety of careers and who are doing what they are interested in doing, to show them a path into the career they want.

The scholarship consists of a bursary of $1,000 per year for two years (total $2,000) to support the students’ studies whilst enrolled in high school, plus mentoring/career information opportunities with Acacia Fellow.

The scholarship is to cover educational expenses such as:

  • Laptop, iPad or similar device
  • Subject or study related software, printer, stationary and textbooks
  • Uniforms and equipment
  • Excursions and camps
  • Curricular and extra-curricular learning opportunities
  • Furniture for study such as desk, chair, lamp etc
  • Home wifi for study
  • Face-To-Face or Online Tutoring

If a student leaves public school before the end of Year 12, the scholarship will lapse.  Please note – if a student’s attendance rate falls below an acceptable level at any time during the duration of the scholarship, the scholarship may be withdrawn.  Any unspent monies at the end of the scholarship period must be refunded to the Public Education Foundation scholarship fund.

Before applying for this scholarship, please ensure that you read the scholarship terms and conditions available on our website.


  • High potential student
  • Attends a public high school in the Shoalhaven region;
    • Bombaderry High School, Kiama High School, Nowra High School, Shoalhaven High School, Ulladulla High School, Vincentia High School
  • Currently in Year 10 (in 2022)
  • Australian citizen or permanent resident


  • Experiencing equity, social or physical hardship(s) that may prevent them from otherwise successfully completing school study or training
  • Displays potential to do well at school
  • Has a positive attitude to school and a high attendance rate
  • Intention to complete their HSC and continue to University or TAFE education
  • Demonstrate they participate in school life
  • Demonstrate they contribute in the community and/or in extracurricular activities

 Selection Process

A selection panel will review all scholarship applications and assess them against the selection criteria. The selection panel will include representatives of the Public Education Foundation and independent experts. After considering all applications, the selection panel will recommend the selected applicants for the approval of the Public Education Foundation’s Board. The successful applicant(s) will be notified in December 2022.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome via email. If successful, the scholarship recipient’s school principal will also receive notification directly.

How To Apply

All applications for the Acacia Program Scholarship must be submitted via the Foundation’s online portal. You will need to sign up for a PEF-Apply account to access the form.

Prior to starting your application, you should compile the following information ready to submit:

  • Applicant details including:
    • full name
    • gender
    • date of birth
    • phone number
    • address
    • email (please ensure you nominate an email account you regularly access)
  • Residence status (copy of residency Visa or Citizenship certificate is a requirement)
  • When you came to Australia (if applicable)
  • Number of years in formal education before coming to Australia (if applicable)
  • Parent/guardian details (at least one but up to two)
    • name
    • phone number
    • relationship to student
    • email address
  • School details:
    • name of school
    • address
    • principal name
    • email
  • School Point of Contact – the person at the school who you would like correspondence sent to – name, phone number and email
  • Basic information about you / your family:
    • whether you are Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or Pacific or South Sea Islander
    • who is the primary caregiver at home
    • highest education qualification of your immediate family
    • if you are from a Non-English-Speaking Background
    • country of origin of your parents and yourself
    • which languages you speak and are spoken at home
    • if you have a diagnosed disability or learning difficulty
    • whether you have been in out-of-home care
    • socio-economic background
    • how you found out about the scholarship
  • A statement outlining why you are a suitable candidate for this scholarship and how you meet each of the selection criteria. (Maximum 400 words)
  • A brief outline of your plans after you have completed your HSC (maximum 150 words)
  • Briefly outline how you feel you meet the criteria in relation to financial need/disadvantage (maximum 150 words)
  • A brief statement on how the scholarship funds would be used (maximum 150 words)
  • A copy of all pages of your most recent school report ready to upload
  • A personal reference from someone who knows you. It could be a teacher, coach, family friend or an employer.  (PDF or Word format, maximum 400 words)
  • A supporting statement from your Principal which addresses the selection criteria (the applicant must initiate a request via the online application to the Principal. This will result in an email being sent to the Principal asking them to complete a statement of support online)

Note for Principals: Please be aware that your statement is a critical component of the application form and your feedback is given considerable weight in the process of panel deliberations.  The panels are looking for feedback that goes well beyond simple confirmation that the student is enrolled in your school.

Submitting Your Application

Once you have finalised your application and all elements are complete (including references and supporting statements as required) you can submit it for review.

Applications must be submitted by 11.59pm on Tuesday 13 September 2022. 

 For Further Information

Call the Public Education Foundation on 02 7814 2806 or email us at