Vision Australia is again set to support students who are blind or have low vision as they undertake tertiary education, with applications for the 2018 round of the Further Education Bursary Program now open.
Open to people from the blind and low vision community who are studying a Certificate IV or higher accredited courses including undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, the bursaries provide students with adaptive technology to assist them to fully participate and succeed in their chosen studies.
The adaptive technology provided to students supports them to access information, complete coursework and helps to improve the overall student experience.
Belinda Wilson, Vision Australia Vocational Consultant, said the program helps to provide recipients with the same opportunities as their sighted counterparts, both during and after their studies.
“The bursary program is just one way in which we are levelling the playing field by supporting people to further their education and build a meaningful career,” Belinda said.
“Our own research tells us that people from the blindness and low vision community who have a diploma, certificate or degree are more likely to be employed. In turn, that gives them a greater ability to live the life they choose,” she said.
Adaptive technology provided to recipients through the bursary program includes items such as magnifiers, screen reading software, laptops, tablets and much more. The 2018 round of the Further Education Bursaries will mark the 22nd year Vision Australia has been supporting students through the program.
“In 2017 we provided more than 20 tertiary students with bursaries, bringing the total number of recipients in the history of the program to 352,” Belinda said.
“For Vision Australia it’s an amazing that we’ve been able to support so many students achieve their education goals over the last two decades and we have to thank all of our donors and everybody else who has made it possible for us to provide the bursaries.”
Currently part way through a Bachelor of Information Technology, Sydney’s Timothy Boye is one of the more than 20 students that received a bursary in 2017. Through Vision Australia’s support Timothy received a range of adaptive technology including a portable video magnifier and MacBook laptop, which the 28 year-old says has made studying more enjoyable.
“My vision means that getting work done in time can be difficult sometimes. The new technology will really let me work faster and that’s going to make things a lot less stressful and that’s something that I’m looking forward to,” Timothy said.
“The nature of my degree and doing it by correspondence means it’s very computer intensive, so the new MacBook means I’ll have the processing power to complete my course work and use [magnification programs} and voice over software programs,” he said.
Applications for the 2018 Vision Australia Further Education Bursary Program are open until 31 October, 2017
More information on eligibility requirements and the application process can be found here. To speak to somebody about the bursary program, email