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Australia Awards Mongolia: Explanation of Changes

Posted: 10 October 2015

The following information is to clarify the situation for the Australia Awards scholarship program in 2015, and for the following two years.


In May 2015, the Australian Government handed down its annual budget. The budget included reductions in foreign aid for many countries, including Mongolia. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has since developed strategies to manage and implement these changes in Mongolia.

DFAT has decided that, despite reductions to the budget, awardees already studying in Australia will be able to complete their studies. This commitment absorbed much of the available funding for the Australia Awards program. DFAT is also committed to ensuring that all individuals that have already received an award (in 2013 and 2014) but have not yet commenced study in Australia will be able to take up a scholarship, albeit with a delay to their commencement. Unfortunately, these two decisions have meant there are limited funds to mobilise new awardees.

While everyone is disappointed that the same number of scholarships cannot be offered at this time, the process to manage the situation is fair, reasonable and provides the best outcome for Mongolia.

A number of questions have been raised about this situation and responses to the most common queries are given below.

Merit-listed candidates: what does this mean?

In June 2015, 70 short-listed candidates were interviewed in the final stage of the selection process. Based on these interviews, the interview panel recommended the Australian Government consider 44 candidates for Australia Awards scholarships. These were the candidates with the necessary skills and attributes to complete postgraduate studies in Australia and return to Mongolia to contribute to its development. The 44 candidates were from both the public and private sectors and they were notified by letter in September 2015.

At this stage, the number of scholarships available for the next three years is uncertain due to limited funding. Therefore, these 44 nominated candidates have been placed on a list from which scholarship offers will be made when scholarships become available. This is known as the merit list of candidates, and it will exist up to mid-2018.

As scholarship opportunities become available over that timeframe, candidates on this merit list will be offered Australia Awards scholarships. Candidates have been told their ranking on the merit list and offers will be made in merit order, that is, the highest-ranked candidates (whether they are from Category 1 or Category 2), will be offered scholarships first. Offers will continue up to and including March 2018, the placement date for the intake for semester 2, 2018.

After that time, the merit list will cease. Anyone who has not been made an offer by March 2018 will need to re-apply. The Australia Awards Mongolia office will contact any candidate who has not been made an offer by that time and explain that they need to re-apply.

Offers of scholarships depend on funding being available. Although we hope that by mid-2018 all those on the merit list will be made an offer, this may not be the case. Unfortunately, being on the merit list does not guarantee a candidate will receive an offer of an Australia Award scholarship.

If any of the candidates would prefer to withdraw from the scholarship process, DFAT respects their decision and appreciates their interest in the Australia Awards program. Such individuals should contact the Australia Awards Mongolia office.

Reserve-listed candidates: what does this mean?

In addition to the 44 nominated candidates, the interview panel recommended a group of reserve candidates. The reserve candidates were notified by letter in September 2015. These candidates can be offered scholarships if all candidates on the merit list have been made offers and scholarship places are still available.

Reserve candidates can be considered for scholarships up to March 2018. If no offer has been made by then, they will need to re-apply.

How long will I wait to be offered a scholarship?

Candidates on the merit list (and the reserve candidates) will be considered for scholarships as they become available up to and including the intake for semester 2, 2018.

It is not possible to set a timeline for when an individual will be offered a scholarship, apart from saying that it will be no longer than three years. If an offer has not been made by March 2018, those on the merit list or reserve list will have to re-apply. They will be notified by the Australia Awards Mongolia office if this is the case.

Can I improve my chances of being offered a scholarship?

Candidates will be offered scholarships in the order they were ranked by the selection panel in 2015. The panel considered all aspects of their applications to create the merit order. Candidates cannot change the order of the merit list.

How long will this situation continue?

At this stage, it is unlikely there will be calls for applications for Australia Awards for the next two years; that is, in 2016 and 2017. If funding becomes available, a small number of additional scholarships may become available, but they will be offered to candidates on the merit list, in the first instance.

If changed circumstances allow another round of applications in 2016 and 2017, it will be widely publicised in the media and on this website.

Where do I get more information?

If you want general information about the Australia Awards scholarship program, or clarification on how they will be managed over the next three years, please contact the Australia Awards Mongolia office.

It will be worth visiting this website regularly. As new information becomes available, it will be posted here as soon as possible.