The Public Education Foundation’s Friends of Zainab Scholarships help support students with a refugee background through the critical years of their High School Certificate.  They also provide financial assistance for a student’s first two years of full time university study.

The scholarship was established in 2002 by Dorothy Hoddinott AO, the Principal of Holroyd High School in Sydney’s South West. In its first year the scholarship enabled a young refugee, Zainab Kaabi, to complete her schooling and enter university. Due to the generosity of donors to the scholarship, the opportunity is available nationally to students studying at public schools.

There are three types of scholarships

  • Senior Secondary Scholarship, Year 10 for students enrolled in Year 10 in 2017- an annual bursary of $1,000 will be provided for each of Years 11 and 12.
  • Senior Secondary Scholarship, Year 11 for students enrolled in Year 11 in 2017 – a one-off payment of $1,000 will be provided for Year 12.
  • Tertiary Scholarship for students in Year 12 in 2017 and intending to enter university in 2018 – an annual bursary of $2,000 will be provided for the first two years of full-time university.

The scholarship is to cover educational expenses such as:

  • Face-To-Face Tutoring or Online Tutoring
  • Uniforms and equipment
  • Stationery and books
  • Laptop
  • Excursions and camps

If a student leaves school before the end of Year 12 or a student leaves university before completion of the course, the scholarship will lapse.  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, click here to read the scholarship terms and conditions


  • Attends an Australian Public School
  • Currently in either Year 10, 11 or 12
  • Refugee background
  • Australian citizen or permanent resident

Note: Students who have applied for protection but do not currently have either permanent residence or Australian Citizenship will be considered on a case by case basis


  • Experiencing personal or socioeconomic disadvantage
  • Have a positive attitude towards schooling
  • Have made academic progress whilst at the school and demonstrated motivation to achieve academically and professionally, including an intention to carry on to tertiary education
  • Demonstrate they participate in school life, in both curricular and extra- curricular activities will be considered favourably
  • Evidence or testimony from the School Principal of high academic potential and satisfied that the scholarship will improve the applicant’s chance of successfully completing secondary education and contribute to success in tertiary studies
  • Agree to the terms and conditions of the scholarship, including providing feedback to the Public Education Foundation and at the completion of each academic year during the scholarship period.


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.

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


To apply for the Friends of Zainab Scholarship, students can access the link to the online portal via the Foundation’s website –

Please note that all applications are now received via the Foundation’s online portal.  You will need to sign up for a FluidReview 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
  • Residence status
  • 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:
    • highest education qualification of your immediate family
    • whether you are Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or Pacific or South Sea Islander
    • 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
    • whether you have been in out-of-home care
    • socio-economic background
    • how you found out about the scholarship
  • A statement outlining why you, the applicant, is a suitable candidate for this scholarship and how you meet each of the selection criteria.  Please also outline your academic plan (Maximum 400 words)
  • A copy of all pages of your most recent school report ready to upload
  • A personal reference (PDF or Word format, maximum 400 words)
  • A reference from your Principal (PDF or Word format, maximum 400 words)

Note for Principals: Please be aware that your reference 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, or that you endorse the application.


Our online applications are a mandatory part of the PEF process, however we are aware that this can cause additional challenges for schools assisting with scholarship applications. We have developed a paper application form which will hopefully assist with this process. Please note that the application must still be completed online but the following statements may be uploaded as handwritten documents if required. Please make sure they are legible.

If you require a paper version of this application, please contact PEF on


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

Applicationmust be submitted by 11.59pm on Tuesday 17 October 2017



Call the Public Education Foundation on 02 9266 8452 or email us at

We also encourage you to visit our website to learn more about the Foundation and the work that we do –


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