Bupa steps in with support for international students at Deakin University


International students at Deakin University who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 will have access to $200,000 worth of supermarket vouchers provided through a partnership with Australia’s largest health insurer, Bupa.


Reduction in working hours available in hospitality and retail businesses as a result of social distancing regulations have placed significant financial pressures on many international students who rely on casual and part-time work to pay for basic needs such as housing and food.

In addition to the significant support provided by the University, international students experiencing hardship will be encouraged to apply for a Woolworths voucher through the Deakin student hardship fund administration team who will assess all requests.

Bupa’s General Manager of Educational Partnerships, Sarah Thorne, said having access to basic food needs has been a major concern raised by international students with the mental health support and counselling team.

“International students, living thousands of kilometres away from their family support systems, have been extremely vulnerable to the adverse financial and emotional effects of COVID-19 with unemployment or underemployment a widespread concern.

“As a health and care company it’s important that we are able to support our customers through this pandemic regardless of whether or not they are Australian citizens,” Ms Thorne said,

The announcement comes as the Deakin Health & Wellbeing program, supported by an investment from Bupa, covers the costs for all international students to receive a flu vaccination regardless of their Overseas Health Cover provider.

“We make this available for every student because we take a population approach to prevention. The more students immunised against the flu means more students are healthy, happy and able to focus on their studies.

“Like Bupa, Deakin University is an institution that truly values the health and wellbeing of its people and we look forward to growing this partnership further over the coming years,” Ms Thorne said.

Bupa’s $200,000 fund is open to all international students across Deakin Universities Burwood, Geelong and Warrnambool campuses.

Media reference number: 20/062