We are hearing from boarding providers with high numbers of Indigenous boarders that they are in financial stress.

For many of these boarding providers not only are they reporting poor financial health but their situation has been getting worse over the past three years and they don’t see their finances improving in 2018.

Here are some numbers relating to boarding providers with 76-100% of Indigenous boarders from the Indigenous Boarding Providers Financial Health Survey* that give cause for concern:

  • 63% reported they are in poor financial health
  • 81% reported that their financial health at the end of 2017 is worse than three years previous
  • 60% reported that they expect to be in a worse position in 2018

Boarding Australia has raised this urgent funding challenge for boarding providers with high numbers of Indigenous students with the Honourable Senator Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and will continue to do so.

The challenge looks even worse for those boarding providers who rely on ABSTUDY for the majority of their funding.

Of these providers a significant number (44 %) believe they do not receive the full ABSTUDY entitlement with a further 20% uncertain.

These responses are not dissimilar to those provided by all providers.

This is not surprising when the vast majority of all Indigenous boarding providers (87%) reported that ABSTUDY is overly complicated.

These survey results were backed up by feedback received at the National Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium and Regional Workshops.

In response to the apparent lack of confidence in having the knowledge and skill to effectively navigate the ABSTUDY system, Boarding Australia is seeking support to conduct practical skills based ABSTUDY workshops for boarding providers in late 2018.

 

*The Boarding Australia Indigenous Boarding Providers Financial Health Survey was conducted in December 2017 to gain a perspective of the financial health of boarding providers for Indigenous students and to understand some of the issues affecting providers.

Written by CEO Greg Franks

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