2021 New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program


Trainings & Fellowships Companies NGO & Institutes Undergraduate Summer & Winter Schools

Location (s):

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Cook Islands
  • East Timor
  • Fiji
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Korea, South
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Niue
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Philippines
  • Samoa
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam


The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in 40 participating Indo-Pacific locations.


2021 New Colombo Plan Scholarship round

The 2021 Round of the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program opens on 24 June 2020 for eligible Australian universities to nominate students. Nominations close on 21 July 2020. Nominated students are then invited to submit an online scholarship application from 22 July 2020. Applications close on 18 August 2020.

The 2021 NCP Scholarship Program Guidelines is available on the Australian Government's grants portal - grant opportunity GO3702.

About the New Colombo Plan

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government, which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting young Australians to study and undertake Internships in the region.

The Australian Government made an initial commitment of $100 million of funding for the New Colombo Plan over five years.  Funding for the Program is now ongoing.  It involves a prestigious Scholarship Program for study of up to one Academic Year, and Internships and/or Mentorships of up to six months; and a flexible Mobility Grant Program for both short and longer-term study, Internships, Mentorships, practicums and research.

The New Colombo Plan is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia's relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other stakeholder links.

Strategic Objectives

The New Colombo Plan aims to:

  • lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by increasing the number of Australian undergraduate students undertaking study and Internships in the region
  • deepen Australia’s people-to-people and institutional relationships with the region, through the engagement of students, universities, businesses and other stakeholder networks in the New Colombo Plan Program
  • establish study in the Indo-Pacific as a rite of passage for Australian undergraduate students, and as an endeavour that is highly valued by the Australian community, and
  • increase the number of work-ready Australian graduates with regional experience.

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program (‘the Scholarship Program’) objectives in 2019 are to:

  • provide up to 120 prestigious and highly-competitive Scholarships
  • support more study experiences in a broad range of Indo-Pacific locations
  • encourage New Colombo Plan students to undertake  longer‑term study, language study and an Internship and/or Mentorship
  • engage New Colombo Plan students, universities and other stakeholders in public diplomacy and outreach, and
  • continue to develop an active alumni community for participants to share their experiences, promote the New Colombo Plan and continue to develop knowledge of and professional links with the Indo-Pacific region.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Scholarship Conditions and Eligible Activities

The Program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students, between 18 and 28 years of age (inclusive), to undertake study, participate in Internship and/or Mentorship opportunities and receive Language Training in eligible Host Location(s) in the Indo-PacificThe Program also encourages students to participate in community engagement and advocacy in relation to the New Colombo Plan.

At a minimum, a Scholarship Program must include a study component. The other possible elements can be undertaken concurrently or one after the other, in any order.  A Scholarship Program must be between three and 19 months in duration, and commence between 1 January 2021 and 15 December 2021. Programs must be full-time throughout their entire duration. Full-time study is as-defined by the Home University; a full-time Internship is at least 22 hours per week; full-time Language Training is at least 15 contact hours per week.  Where short gaps between Program components are unavoidable, paid gap leave  may be approved on a case-by-case basis up to a total of four weeks per every 12 months (pro rata).

Applicants who have already commenced or will commence a study abroad or exchange program overseas prior to 1 January 2021 are not eligible to apply for a Scholarship to continue that study.



To be eligible for a New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship, and to remain eligible during the Scholarship Program if a Scholarship is awarded, applicants must:  

  • have been nominated for the NCP Scholarship Program by their Home University;

  • be an Australian citizen;

  • not be a current or previous citizen or permanent resident of their Primary Location or any Secondary Location;

  • be enrolled, until completion of all Study Components, in at least one Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree unit at an on-shore campus of an Australian University;

  • be undertaking, until completion of all Study Components, at least one Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree;

  • be between 18 and 28 years of age (inclusive) on 1 January 2021;

  • have achieved a minimum 70 per cent graded average or equivalent for their undergraduate course at the time of Application, as determined by the nominating Home University; and

  • not be a previous recipient of a Scholarship under the NCP Scholarship Program.

Successful applicants are not allowed to commence another Australian Government funded off-shore Scholarship Program or mobility grant (including a New Colombo Plan Mobility Program grant) while undertaking their New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program.

Host Locations

Scholarship Programs can be conducted in the following 40 Indo-Pacific Host Locations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Scholars may apply to undertake their study and/or Internship component in more than one eligible Host Location and/or Host Institution/Organisation, where it adds meaningful value to the core Scholarship Program.

Where the Scholarship Program is undertaken in more than one location, the Scholar must nominate a primary location on their application form. A primary location is where the Scholar undertakes the most substantial study component of their Scholarship Program. Study and/or Internships at other locations must not exceed the time spent at the primary location. 

No additional funding (to that outlined in Section 2) will be provided for a Scholarship Program undertaken in more than one eligible Host Location (i.e. each Scholar can only receive one travel allowance and one establishment allowance). Travel to secondary locations for the purposes of the scholarship is subject to relevant visa conditions.

Scholars must not travel to a Host Location or region within a Host Location for which the Australian Government’s Smartraveller travel advice recommends ‘Do not travel’ (see www.smartraveller.gov.au). Host Locations for which the Smartraveller travel advice recommends ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ are eligible, but applicants should inform themselves carefully of the risks and think seriously about the need to travel to that country or region before applying. Applicants must acknowledge in their Scholarship agreement (see Section 6) that they have considered the risks carefully and investigated safety precautions before deciding to travel.

Study should preferably be undertaken at a local Host Institution. Host Institutions should not be offshore campuses of a third country, unless from a New Colombo Plan Host Location. Applications to study at offshore campuses of Australian Universities will be considered on a case-by-case basis, if the Home University provides confirmation that the following conditions are met:

  • there are no local Host Institutions in the proposed location that offer relevant courses that would receive credit from the Home University.
  • the offshore campus offers a genuine local experience, where Australian students are the minority of the student body and students are taught predominantly by local and international academics.
  • the Home University is continuing to explore and expand exchange or other partnerships with local Host Institutions in that location.


Deadline: August 18, 2021

Cost/funding for participants:

Scholarship Benefits

Before applying for a New Colombo Plan Scholarship, students should consider their personal financial circumstances and ensure that undertaking a Scholarship Program will not overextend them financially. Exchange rates can fluctuate. Any money a Scholar receives for the purpose of the Scholarship Program must only be used for the purpose of the Scholarship. The money must not be used for any other purpose.

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship includes:

  • tuition fees to cover the cost of study for up to one Academic Year (including student service and amenities fees), where Scholars are studying as fee-paying international students, up to a maximum of $20,000 ($10,000 per semester or $6,666 per trimester). These fees are payable directly to the Host Institution. The Scholarship will only provide for international tuition fees if no current exchange agreement place is available between the Home University and the Host Institution.
  • tuition fees to cover the cost of Language Training, , for up to six months  up to a maximum of $10,000 for Scholars studying as fee-paying international students (or $6,666 per trimester). These fees are only for in-country Language Training, and must be for an official language of the Host Country and are payable directly to the Language Training provider.
  • Scholars undertaking less than one month of full-time Language Training or part-time Language Training concurrent with another full-time program component, may have Language Training tuition fees paid up to a maximum of $1,500.
  • the combined cost of semester tuition fees and Language Training tuition fees must not exceed the $20,000 ($10,000 per semester or $6,666 per trimester) mentioned above.   
  • a travel allowance of $2,500 to contribute to costs associated with the Scholar’s travel to and from the Host Location.
  • an establishment allowance of $2,500 to contribute to the costs associated with the Scholar settling into their Host Location.
  • a monthly stipend of $2,500 to contribute to the Scholar’s basic living costs in their Host Location.
  • health and travel insurance for the duration of their overseas Scholarship Program.
  • a dedicated Case Manager for the duration of their Scholarship Program who provides services including pre-departure briefings, advice on health and travel insurance, advice and assistance relating to accommodation, and payment of allowances.
  • New Colombo Plan Fellows (the top-ranked Scholar in each location and top ranked Indigenous Scholar) will receive an additional benefit of $1,000 to purchase study materials for use during their Scholarship Program.
  • Scholarships may be sponsored by Private Sector Organisations for the duration of the Scholar’s Scholarship Program. This may include in-kind benefits provided direct to the Scholars, such as training opportunities.
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