The Public Education Foundation’s Friends of Zainab Tertiary Scholarship is for refugee students currently in Year 12 in 2023 intending to enter university or TAFE in 2024 – and gives an annual bursary of up to $2,000 for a maximum of two years of full-time university or TAFE 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.

The scholarship is to cover educational expenses such as:

  • Uniforms and equipment
  • Stationery and books
  • Laptop, software etc.
  • Face-To-Face Tutoring or Online Tutoring

If a student leaves TAFE or 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, please ensure that you read the scholarship terms and conditions available on our website


  • A Refugee
  • Attends an Australian Public School
  • Currently in Year 12
  • 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

  • Commitment to studying a TAFE course or University degree as a full-time student in 2024


To be considered for this scholarship the applicant should demonstrate the following criteria:

  • Experiencing personal or socioeconomic disadvantage
  • Have made academic progress whilst at school
  • Strongly articulated commitment to their chosen career path
  • Demonstrates an understanding of how their current subject selection and/or work experience will assist them in their future study/work goals
  • A positive attitude towards schooling, including high attendance
  • Demonstrate they participate in school life
  • Demonstrate they contribute in the community and/or in extracurricular activities


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 in December. If successful, the scholarship recipient’s school principal will also receive notification directly.


All applications for the Friends of Zainab 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)
  • Number of years in formal education before coming to Australia
  • Parent/guardian details (at least one but up to two)
  • 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 suffer from a disability
    • whether you have been in out-of-home care
    • socio-economic background
    • how you found out about the scholarship
  • Your University or TAFE course preferences including name of institution and name of degree/course (you must submit at least one preference but you can enter up to three).
  • 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 explanation of how your current subject selection and/or work experience will assist you in your future study and/or work goals
  • A brief outline of what your commitment is to your chosen career. (maximum 250 words)
  • A brief explanation regarding the barriers you see for your future studies
  • 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, 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 some students might like to complete the paper version at home before finalising the online application at school.

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 and supporting statements as required) you can submit it for review.

Applications must be submitted by 11.59pm on Tuesday 8th August 2023.

For Further Information

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