COVID-19 Stipend Extensions

Stipend extensions are available for doctoral candidates whose progress has been directly impacted by COVID-19. Applications will be opened progressively for candidates that are closest to stipend expiry.

Applications are now open to candidates whose stipend expires 1 June – 31 March 2021.


You are eligible to apply for a stipend extension if you are a doctoral candidate on a stipend of 3.0-3.5 years duration, you have an approved candidature extension and your progress has been directly impacted by COVID-19.


A stipend extension of:

  • Up to 12 weeks if you have lost significant productivity due to COVID-19
  • Up to 26 weeks if your project has been profoundly affected by COVID-19 to the extent that a major restructure or re-conception of the project is required to complete your research degree

The extension will be provided at the University standard scholarship rate ($31,200 pa pro rata in 2020) and is inclusive of any COVID-19 paid leave received as part of the maximum COVID support available.

Stipend extension will not be available beyond 4 years of candidature.

If you are applying for an extension for lost productivity, only disruptions that occur up to the end date of your stipend are eligible to be claimed.

If your stipend has already finished and you are awarded a stipend extension, the extension will be paid to you as back-pay.

What is considered a direct COVID-19 disruption?

These are examples of direct COVID-19 disruptions that will be considered for stipend extension applications:

  • Being unable to undertake essential work due to travel restrictions
  • Key experiments or research significantly delayed while other work (e.g., writing of thesis) can't proceed
  • Ongoing restrictions necessitating significant reconfiguration of planned research, e.g., due to restricted access to library collections, equipment, laboratories, performance spaces, or study participants
  • Loss or delay of training and development vital to the project
  • Inadequate access to IT equipment required for study, lack of suitable area to work away from campus
  • Mental illness or significant mental health condition created or exacerbated by COVID-19
  • Additional carer responsibilities during the COVID-19 working-from-home restrictions
  • Being unable to work for an extended period due to COVID-19 infection

The following are not considered to be direct impacts of COVID-19 and are not eligible reasons to seek a stipend extension:

  • Seeking additional employment or changes in employment
  • Lack of employment
  • Returning to clinical or other work to support COVID-19 recovery
  • Volunteering
  • Other leave types (e.g., parental leave)
  • Project changes that do not require additional time to complete
  • Not progressing other aspects of the research that could have been undertaken during the working from home periods
  • Ordinary research delays, or research disruptions not due to COVID-19
  • Other disruptions not due to COVID-19

How to apply

  1. Discuss your application with your supervisor
  2. Prepare your supporting documents

    You must provide supporting documents for your application to be considered. These may include medical certificates, previously completed COVID-19 Research Impact Record (RIR) forms, revised research plans, notes from progress review meetings, diary notes from meetings with your supervisors, or other evidence of that kind.

    If you are applying for a stipend extension of more than 12 weeks, you must provide a revised research plan agreed with your supervisors, that sets out how you will achieve a quality project while minimising delays in an ongoing COVID environment.

    Please note: If you are applying on the basis of a mental illness or significant mental health condition exacerbated or caused by COVID-19, or if you have other chronic health conditions you do not wish to disclose to your supervisors, you should register with Student Equity and Disability Services (SEDS). They can create an adjustment plan/document that recognises your needs but does not necessarily disclose your condition. The adjustment plan will be held on your record. You can refer to your adjustment plan when making this or other relevant applications, rather than requiring separate medical certificates.

  3. Complete the application form available here
  4. Please note: Applications will be considered based on disruptions or circumstances that have occurred up to the application date, and not on potential disruptions into the future.

  5. Submit your application and supporting documents for your principal supervisor to complete their section of the form.

Who will review my application?

Your Principal supervisor and your Advisory Committee Chair will both be asked to provide comments on your application.

Applications for stipend extensions of up to 12 weeks will be decided at the faculty level.

Applications for stipend extensions beyond 12 weeks will be decided by a University committee.

What if I am not satisfied with the outcome of my application?

You may submit a complaint about a decision relating to the outcome of your COVID-19 stipend extension application, in accordance with the Student Complaints and Grievances Policy and following the existing guidelines on resolving issues.

If you cannot resolve the problem within the faculty, the University Graduate Research Covid-19 Stipend Extension Review Committee (GRCSERC) can hear requests for a review of decisions on stipend extensions on procedural grounds.

If you are not satisfied with outcomes from GRCSERC, and wish to make a formal complaint, you should do so in accordance with the Student Complaints and Grievances Policy, if the complaint relates to an administrative or procedural matter.

If there is an allegation of an error in the assessment of the application related to academic judgement you may appeal to the Academic Secretary.