New Colombo Plan: Asia-bound Scholarship on Steroids

new colombo plan scholarship

When I began my degree in 2009 a $5000 overseas travel grant from the Australian Government seemed like a pretty good deal to study in China. Five years on and the stock in Asia-bound scholarships has skyrocketed. They are now worth a sum more than most Australians make in a year! In this post, Asia Options introduces the latest government scholarship in which undergraduate students are eligible for up to $28,500 in funding to study in Asia.

What is the New Colombo Plan Scholarship?

The Australian Government has committed more than AUD $100 million to fund The New Colombo Plan in its first five years. The prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarships support Australian undergraduates to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in the Indo-Pacific. The program is open to Australian undergraduate students from 18 to 30 years old (for non-indigenous applicants), or between 18 and 35 years old (for indigenous applicants) seeking to transfer credit towards their degree at an Australian university.

The program offers students up to AUD $28,500 to cover tuition fees and allowances for study of up to one academic year, plus internships of up to six months. Students must be nominated by their Australian home university and nominations by Australian universities typically open mid-year. Successful recipients can commence studies from January 1st to December 31st the following year.

The New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant funds Australian universities to implement short and long-term study, internship, mentorship, practicum and research programs in 40 host locations across the Indo-Pacific for undergraduate students. Universities are able to include undergraduates aged 18-28 and some students aged over 28 in the mobility program. In both cases, undergraduate students should contact their Study Abroad Office or relevant faculty at their home university for application details.


  • An Australian citizen. Applicants with dual citizenship are eligible, however, you must undertake the scholarship in a third country, of which you are not a citizen;
  • Between 18 and 30 (for non-indigenous applicants) or 35 (for indigenous applicants) years of age at the commencement of your scholarship program;
  • Enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree level program and have achieved a minimum 70% graded average or equivalent for their course at the commencement of the scholarship;
  • Applying to go on exchange to eligible destinations for either 1 or 2 semesters;
  • Receive credit from your exchange towards your degree.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be assessed against the following criteria. Applicants should address each criterion and limit their responses to 300 words per criteria.

  1. Demonstrated academic excellence (70 percent weighting)
  2. Demonstrated leadership in the local community (15 percent weighting)
  3. Describe how this experience enhances your cultural awareness, employment potential and ability to operate in new and changing environments (15 percent weighting)

Asia Option Resources

Read stories from Asia Options readers who have successfully applied for and experienced the NCP program, including their tips, highlights and study programs.

Application Information

To apply for the New Colombo Plan please see the scholarship website.

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Olly Theobald

Director at Asia Options.
Olly works in Hangzhou China and is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, e-commerce, Asia education, data science, and foreign languages. Olly is a graduate from RMIT University and the Hopkins Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies. Olly speaks Mandarin and Korean.

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