Special Grants

Special Grant funding is for projects, events, equipment or activities that are unusual, one-off, extraordinary, or based on special needs of the Grad Group. This is available to all Grad Groups. These grants are processed through grant rounds, taking place quarterly.

Special Grants are available for a maximum of $2,000 and are processed in quarterly rounds.

Grad Groups can apply for one Special Grant per grant round.

Generally, there is an expectation that Special Grants will benefit most, if not all, members. If funding is for a small group of people, the proposal will need to illustrate how this will have a positive impact on the wider group.

For equipment/assets purchases, the proposal should outline how the equipment will be used on an ongoing basis, how it will be safely stored and when it is forecast to be replaced (if applicable).

Special grants can be used in conjunction with Annual Funding (reimbursement).

Collaboration is looked upon favourably and in case of collaboration, more than one Group may apply for a special grant for the same activity/event, up to a cap of three Groups.

Special grants may include expenditure on alcohol, however, as we actively support healthy and safe communities, this is capped at two drinks (up to $20 total) per event attendee. In the case of bottles of wine being purchased, this is counted as six drinks or the allocation for three people. While individual drinks with spirits (such as whisky or vodka) may be funded, bottles of spirits will not be. As part of your proposal, you should include a budget that details your expected number of attendees and budget for alcohol in line with the spending cap.


Special Grants applications will take place in quarterly grant rounds. Applications will open on the first day of each quarter, with the deadline two months later. Applications will be reviewed and decisions communicated in the week following the deadline.

Payment will be made at the end of the quarter. This is illustrated in the table below.

Funding rounds Applications open Applications deadline Applications reviewed Funds transferred Acquittal
Jan – Mar 1 Jan 1 Mar First week of Mar Last week of Mar 1 Jun
Apr – Jun 1 Apr 1 Jun First week of Jun Last week of Jun 1 Sep
Jul – Sep 1 Jul 1 Sep First week of Sep Last week of Sep 1 Dec
Oct – Dec 1 Oct 1 Dec First week of Dec Middle of Dec 1 Mar


Proposals are assessed on their impact and significance for your Grad Group and your members. Proposals should be based on a special need and not just for day-to-day running/normal activity of the Group.

Special grants are normally given for a one-off expense, rather than a regular expenditure, and usually will have an outcome in line with one of the following:

  • increase the Grad Group’s reach to other students or the general public;
  • improve members’ skills;
  • provide members with valuable experience;
  • provide space, support or voice for under-represented graduate students;
  • build capacity for the Grad Group or its members;
  • help raise the voice of students;
  • have a positive impact on the Grad Group;
  • assist in expanding the Grad Group’s resources;
  • respond to a special need or hardship of the Grad Group.

Proposals should include a budget. If multiple funding streams are being used, the budget should detail what GSA funding will be spent on.

If Annual Funding (reimbursements) is not being used, proposals should outline why (for example, you may already have plans to spend your Annual Funding on a future activity).

Special grant considerations

When reviewing special grant applications, we will consider the following:

  • Is the proposal in line with core SSAF activity?
  • Is the proposal in line with the purpose of the Grad Group?
  • Does the proposal:
  • improve the Grad Group members’ skills or provide them with valuable experience?
  • increase the Grad Group’s reach to other students or the general public?
  • help raise the voice of students?
  • have a positive impact on the Grad Group?
  • assist in expanding the Grad Group’s resource?
  • respond to a special need or hardship of the Grad Group?
  • Are other funding options more appropriate? For example, could annual funding be used?
  • Are they collaborating with another Grad Group or GSA Working Group?
  • How inclusive is the outcome? Does it reach or benefit a large number or wide range of students/members? How high is the cost per person?
  • Is it a special one-off occurrence or more standard day-to-day activity (for example, if the funding is for a social activity, does the group undertake a lot of social events and, if so, what makes this special)?
  • Has the Group previously had a Special Grant and, if so, how was it managed (for example, was there a large amount of surplus funding)?
  • If it is for a low number of people, has the proposal illustrated how this will have an impact of the extended group?

    How to apply

    You can apply for a Special Grant here.

    Apply for a special grant

    If you have any questions, please just email us at gradgroups@gsa.unimelb.edu.au.