Information for families

Family at graduation.

For a lot of people, university can be unfamiliar territory, but you are not alone. There are no questions too big or too small; we encourage you to reach out – this is what we are here for!

There can be multiple fears and concerns about your loved one starting their journey at university. These usually come under four key areas:

  • Finances
  • Moving to a new location
  • Ability to cope with study
  • A sense of loss

If you don’t know where to start, please see the frequently asked questions below that we have gathered to help families feel more comfortable with their loved one’s new educational adventure. If you have a general question and you’re not sure who to direct it to, click on the "Get in contact with us" button and it will take you to a our contact details. You can choose which option you are most comfortable with for someone to assist you.

If you’re interested in seeing how our students have thrived, please view our Student Success Stories at the IERC. Sometimes seeing university through a student’s eyes can help you feel comfortable and confident in helping your loved one through their new student lifestyle. University is not like school; it can be tailored to suit individuals and offers an abundance of services and activities. You only needs to ask!

Have a question? Want to find out more?

We are here to help.

Get in contact with us

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why go to uni and how long does it take?

Education is the process of developing ourselves. It allows us to understand the world around us and our place in it. It gives us the ability to reason and make our own judgements, to empathise and socialise with others. As a universal declaration of human right, everyone has the right to quality education; it is key in improving health and financial outcomes. It equips us to seize control of our careers and create social change, which we can take back to our communities.

We have summarised some benefits of going to uni:

  • To build communication skills in reading and writing, as well as effective listening and the ability to articulate what we want to say
  • It develops critical thinking which boosts creativity, time management and decision-making skills
  • Graduates have a competitive edge when searching for a job; this increases employment opportunities and the likelihood of securing a high-paying job
  • It shows employers our ability to work hard and successfully complete goals making us responsible and knowledgeable employees
  • With increased employment rates and high paying jobs, graduate incomes contribute to economy growth which decreases society’s poverty rates
  • It provides financial resources for stable lives so people can afford safe housing and good health
  • Graduates tend to take part in projects that improve their neighbourhoods and communities
  • Education equips us to better understand laws and regulations, so we can shape the society we live in

“These individuals, having benefited from the university's empowering environment, are now better equipped to drive self-determination plans and seize control of their own futures” – Professor Martin Nakata (2023).

Courses at JCU are typically between 3 and 4 years full-time; however, this is dependent on the course they have chosen. View our course finder page. Students can return home during semester/trimester breaks if they don't have any study commitments during this time. You can check the academic calendars at any time to see when the breaks are.

Keeping in contact with your family member

Students can keep in touch with their family throughout the entirety of their studies. Just double check you have a reliable contact number for you to reach them on.

You can always contact us if you have any concerns. General email enquiries are also welcome; please just email us at JCU also has a contact directory which you or your loved one can use.

Safety and support

Our support services don’t just look after your loved one’s academic progress; we are here to make sure they are safe. JCU also has security on campus and information on safety and wellbeing. This covers physical and mental health supports including the general health facilities on / near the Bebegu Yumba Townsville and Nguma-bada Cairns and campuses that students have access to.

The IERC is a safe environment for students to go to if they need guidance or resources. We have a centre in both Bebegu Yumba Townsville campus (Building 301) and Nguma-bada Cairns campus (Building A21). We contact students via phone and email every few weeks to see how they are going with transitioning into uni, their studies and finances as well as their general wellbeing.

Our students also have access to various professional development opportunitiesmentor and peer-support programs, and learning support. We have information to assist our students with finances and scholarship opportunities. JCU also has a variety of support services for all their students.

We have created a web page for our students so they can build and expand their social circles. Our centres have three or more BBQs at the IERC every semester for our students to come in, make new friends and eat free food! There is also the Townsville Indigenous Student Association they can join to meet weekly for group study sessions and social/cultural events. We promote all our events through our Facebook page so our students can easily keep up to date with upcoming social activities. The JCU Student Association is also open to any JCU students who are interested in meeting people and building supports through various memberships, clubs, sports and events.

Getting started with applying/enrolling and deferring

Your family member will likely be applying for a pathway into uni or an undergraduate degree. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance – this is what we are here for!

The link for the JCU application page can look overwhelming; just let us know and we will walk you through the process.

Once your family member has been accepted into JCU, they need to click here to go through the step by step process of enrolling into JCU and activating their student account. There is also information on JCU’s enrolment page on upcoming enrolments. If stuck, please contact us and we will assist you. This is your first time, so it’s ok if you’re feeling unsure; this is what we’re here for!

If an enrolment needs to be adjusted, please contact us so we can help you through this process.

This can seem a bit daunting so there is a voucher you can apply for through JCU. This can be found on JCU's Widening Participation page. There is also information about outreach activities and travel subsidies on that page. The application for a QTAC Voucher is updated yearly, so keep an eye out for it each year around August. If you have any questions or you would like some help with this, please reach out and let us know!

Campus, accommodation and transport

Information about our campuses can be found here.

Click here to see the video we have created so you can take a virtual tour of the IERC on the Bebegu Yumba Townsville campus. A video tour of the Nguma-bada Cairns campus is currently being put together.

There is accommodation support for our Indigenous students which includes information about financial assistance and study support. We are currently putting together a video of accommodation options so you can see where your loved one could be living their uni life!

JCU has a range of transport and parking options including student discounts for public transport.

Finances and resources

We are happy to help you with any questions you might have about financial support. In fact, we check in with our students often to make sure they are doing ok financially, so if they’re not sure how to ask for help, we’ll ask those questions for you.

The IERC is opened 24/7 to our Indigenous students for meeting spaces and computer labs on both the Bebegu Yumba Townsville and Nguma-bada Cairns campuses. JCU also has computer labs available 24/7 to all students.

Yes, they can connect to JCU's wireless network using their laptop. For instructions on how to do this, go to our Getting Connected to Wireless self-help guide.