Thinking about uni?

Thinking about going to uni?
Hear what JCU's Pro Vice Chancellor for Indigenous Education and Strategy, Professor Martin Nakata has to say about guiding kids into university and helping them get through their courses.

Discover pathways and options for enrolling in a course at JCU

Our Indigenous Student Services team are here to help you succeed in your studies and progress through your degree with the help of both academic and pastoral advisors.

Indigenous Student Support Advisors

The Indigenous Student Support Advisors provide mentoring, encouragement and a safe environment, and can help you source further information such as:

  • Accommodation Options
  • Managing finances, including contacting Centrelink
  • Applying for scholarships
  • Working through stress and anxiety
  • Maintaining personal health and wellbeing
  • Accessing services on campus, and
  • Staying focused on your passion and direction.

Indigenous Academic Support Advisors

The Indigenous Academic Support Advisors have an in-depth understanding of the challenges students usually face during their higher education studies, especially students from Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. They will also help with:

  • Academic coaching, such as tutoring
  • Helping you develop strategies to identify areas of improvement in your studies
  • Staying on track with your studies
  • Supporting you to create an effective study plan, and
  • Suggesting alternative ways to improve your academic progress.

RATEP is an award winning community-based program which enables Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to become fully qualified teaching assistants and/or registered teachers. It is offered in partnership with the Queensland Department of Education and Training and TAFE Queensland North.

Eligible students who live in locations where there is a RATEP Study Centre can apply through QTAC for entry into the full-time 4-year Bachelor of Education (Primary).

For further information hear from a former RATEP participant, contact or visit the Queensland Government website.

Visit the Fees and Financial Support page to find out what fees you have to pay for a university course or degree, as well as information on the Student Services and Amenities (SSA) Fee.

You can also find out if you're eligible to defer payment of your fees through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) scheme.


JCU offers a comprehensive database for local, regional and Australian scholarships, bursaries and financial support programs to assist you while you study.

There are a range of scholarships available for JCU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. These include scholarships by study area, postgraduate research, Commonwealth scholarships and more.

Browse Indigenous Scholarships

Browse the full list of JCU Scholarships available to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous JCU students.

Find out about internal scholarships, Commonwealth funded scholarships for Indigenous Australians, ABSTUDY or contact the IERC for more information.

Want to know what it's like to be a uni student? Then our residential preparatory program for high school students may be the program for you. The JCU Winter School for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students offers students in Year 10, 11 and 12 the chance to experience university life during the school holidays.

The JCU Summer Pre-program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students is a new initiative of the Indigenous Education and Research Centre (IERC), in partnership with the JCU academic Colleges. Summer Pre-program conducts pre-programs for prospective Indigenous students who have completed Year 12 QCE or HSC requirements within the current year and are seeking to gain entry into JCU.

At JCU we give you every opportunity to succeed in your studies. There are course options available for everyone, whether you are leaving high school, returning to study, or starting university as a mature-age student. You will find a degree that suits you and can be delivered at your own pace (part-time, full-time or external mode, online or on-campus). Learn more here.

Finding the right accommodation to suit your individual needs is an important step in preparing for life at JCU. Living somewhere comfortable and convenient while you are a student will improve your overall university experience, so it’s important to get it right. There are many accommodation options available to you both on- and off-campus. Our Accommodation team can help you find a place that suits your needs.

The JCU Indigenous Education and Research Centre coordinates tutorial assistance for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students based at JCU in Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Mount Isa and Thursday Island, and for those studying externally around Australia.

This Australian Government initiative aims to improve academic outcomes for Indigenous students, by providing supplementary tuition by qualified, suitable tutors.

Tutors work with our Indigenous Academic Support Advisors to accelerate learning for Indigenous students, and tuition is provided in addition to the usual teaching and learning conducted as part of each JCU subject.


To receive Indigenous Tutorial Assistance, a student must be of Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, and currently enrolled in an award course at JCU.

How it works

Students should contact an Indigenous Academic Support Advisor for initial assessment.

Successful applicants are then matched with a suitable tutor who has the skills and knowledge of the chosen discipline in which tutoring is required.

A face-to-face meeting between the student and tutor is arranged. When a face-to-face meeting is not possible, students will be contacted by phone or email. In the first meeting, the Indigenous Academic Support Advisor will develop a Student Learning Plan, based on the learning needs of the student.

The Indigenous Academic Support Advisor will maintain constant contact with both the tutor and student to monitor their progress and feedback.

All JCU students can use any of the General Access and Teaching Computer Facilities (GATCF) – commonly referred to as computer labs – located on the Bebgu Yumba (Townsville), Nguma-bada (Cairns) and Mackay campuses. There are 23 computer labs across all three campuses, including in the libraries in Townsville and Cairns. Students can access more than 700 desktop PCs and Macs. Students must use their JCU computer account username and password to login.

JCU's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Services offers a comprehensive guide to general access computer labs, including locations and real-time availability, current operating systems and software, operating guides, and fault reporting.

In Townsville, the Indigenous Education and Research Centre (located in Building 301) contains a fully air-conditioned student computer lab with computers, a printer and a photocopier. The lab is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with student ID swipe card access required outside of normal business hours.

University Life

We provide an environment that inspires you to grow personally, culturally and academically, and deliver student support programs and services to assist you throughout your studies. JCU students have free access to academic, personal and financial support services and advice.

Student Support Services

There are several JCU support services and student associations that can help make your university experience a happy and successful one.

The JCU Student Association represents the interests of all JCU students. Membership is voluntary and entitles you to discounts at food outlets on the Cairns and Townsville campuses, and at campus gyms, and many other great deals. Follow the JCU Student Association on Facebook.

The Bama Nguma-Barra Indigenous Student Association, or BNBISA, was formed in 2010 and is based at JCU's Nguma-bada campus in Cairns. The BNBISA is affiliated with the JCU Student Association and provides a formal body to represent, advocate and support Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are BNBISA members.

It also provides effective peer support and mentoring to members, services which are crucial to managing student retention and to providing a safe space to build and maintain a cohesive learning environment.

IERC Student Ambassadors help promote the IERC and the opportunities available within higher education to potential students, including those who might not otherwise consider applying to higher education. Ambassadors assist with various events and have the opportunity to share their experiences with prospective Indigenous students and help guide them in making a decision about their future.

Casual Student Ambassador positions are open to all current students from their second year of study onwards. Earn while you learn. To Find out more about the program, contact IERC on (07) 4781 4676 or email

JCU students can access support to successfully combine their academic aspirations and elite sport ambitions.

JCU has been part of the Elite Athlete Friendly University (EAFU) program since 2013. This program provides support and flexibility for formally identified elite athlete students. Flexible options may include support with academic study loads and assessment deadlines. JCU's Elite Athlete Program aims to help students achieve success both on the sporting field and in the classroom. From business through to sports and exercise science, students can study a range of courses at JCU.

Visit the Elite Athlete Program webpage for information on eligibility, services and how to register.

There's a wide range of accommodation options for JCU students in Townsville, Cairns and Mackay. Find out about living on campus, sharing a private rental, short-term stays and homestays. Read more on the JCU Accommodation website or or download the Student Accommodation Guide.

Choosing to go to university is a big step for your child or partner, and your support can make a real difference. You are an important part of our extended JCU community, so we want to provide you with information and advice to help support your family member as they transition into university. Visit the comprehensive Parents and Partners website for tips on how you can help your family member, answers to questions you may have and the costs of attending university.

Our Indigenous Student Services team are here to help you succeed in your studies and progress through your degree with both academic and pastoral advisors. The Indigenous Student Support Advisors provide mentoring, encouragement and a safe environment, while the Indigenous Academic Support Advisors have an in-depth understanding of and can help support students overcome the academic challenges usually faced during their higher education studies.

Safety and Wellbeing - All members of JCU have the right to feel welcome, respected and safe. JCU offers on-campus security services to help ensure the safety of students and staff, as well as Equity Contact Officers, qualified Counsellors and student support officers.