The Darmasiswa Program

What Is It?

The Darmasiswa Program is a competitive and prestigious sponsorship program provided by the Indonesia Government for incoming students from all over the world.

From our experience, while the funding available with the Darmasiswa Program itself is modest (around $250 a month depending on your location) the income stream can serve as a useful motivator and supplement to your living costs. More importantly, the scholarship covers all of your tuition fees, which can add up to a substantial sum of money depending on the duration of your program. Importantly, the application process itself is not too cumbersome compared with some other processes involving Indonesian bureaucracy.

Altogether, the program serves as an excellent entry-point for young Australians to study and grow in Indonesia, while in effect being subsidised for the experience.

Please note, the application process and requirements for this program shift from year to year, and at present Covid-19 has restricted travel from Australia to Indonesia. The 2020 intake was suspended due to Covid, and it is not yet certain that the program will run throughout 2021.

The application process begins in January of each year, so check in then for a clearer picture of available positions with Darmasiswa.

To give you some indication of the program in its entirety, here is a overview of the program and a run-down of what it looked like for the year 2020:

Official Information

The Darmasiswa Program is part of a general push by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) to promote Indonesian arts, culture and language internationally by providing a scholarship for foreign students to study in Indonesia.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) the Darmasiswa Program was begun in 1974 as part of an ASEAN initiative. Since then it has expanded and now accepts students from all over the world.

The Darmasiswa Scholarship provides a monthly stipend for foreign students studying in Indonesia within one of the following fields:

• Language
• Arts and crafts
• Music
• Dance

Essentially a non-degree program which runs for a minimum of 6 or a maximum of 12 months: the Darmasiswa Program is broken up into three categories.

• Darmasiswa RI Regular Program – 1 year
• Darmasiswa RI Plus Program – 1 year
• Darmasiswa RI Short Course Program – 6 months

The Darmasiswa program is run through 44 different universities throughout Indonesia. As a result, students have a wealth of options to choose from.

How to apply for the scholarship?

Applicants must fill out an application form and submit it to their nearest Indonesian consulate or embassy.

The application form changes from year to year. Broadly speaking, however, the process is as follows:

1. Fill out the application form
2. Provide a copy of your academic transcript
5. Provide a Medical Certificate as evidence of good health
6. Provide passport size colour photographs
7. Provide a full-page copy of passport valid for at least 18 months from the time of arrival in Indonesia
8. You must prove your ability to communicate in English and have a basic knowledge of the field you are applying for.

For 2020, the application form could be accessed directly from the website of the MoEC. The application process and procedure will be updated for 2021, so be sure to check back in with Asia Options in the New Year for a complete guide to the Darmasiswa application process.

Visa information

The participants are prohibited to apply for a Tourist Visa or Visa-On-Arrival for study purposes. Information on visas will be updated in 2021.


The MoEC doesn’t provide accommodation for participants.

Coverage of scholarship

The monthly allowance received by the participant varies depending on their chosen location in Indonesia. Living costs vary across the archipelago, and the monthly stipend you receive will vary to accommodate this.

For the 2020 intake, distribution of monies was as follows:

1st area (DKI Jakarta, Batam, Bandung, Surabaya, Bali, Manado, Makassar, Samarinda and Ambon) – Rp 2,950,000 (roughly $280)

2nd area (Aceh, Medan, Padang, Palembang, Lampung, Bogor, Purwokerto, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Malang) – Rp 2,550,000 (roughly $240)

Requirements / Qualifications 

For 2020, each participant had to satisfy these requirements:
a. Not more than 27 years of age.
b. Completed secondary education or its equivalent
c. In good health as proven by Medical Certificate
d. Able to communicate in English (proven if necessary by a certificate)
e. Have basic knowledge of the field for which you are applying.

Arrival in Indonesia

The MoEC does not fund international airfare tickets to or from Indonesia.

Health insurance

The MoEC provides local health insurance for participants.

Looking to 2021

Covid has disrupted just about everything across the planet, and regrettably the Darmasiswa program is not immune to Covid’s rampage. However, 2021 is a New Year with new possibilities. Darmasiswa is a prestigious and long-running program that has introduced thousands of people across the world to Indonesia’s beauty and complexity. Given its success and established presence, the Indonesian government will likely want to continue it into the future. We’ll keep a close watch on this space and guide you through it when January rolls around in 2021. In the meantime, get a glimpse of what Darmasiswa can offer you here.

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Nick Metherall

Indonesia Country Coordinator
Nick is a student at La Trobe University. He is currently conducting field work in rural and remote parts of Eastern Indonesia.