The Australian National University is offering up to $5000 to international students stuck in China as a result of the coronavirus travel ban in a package that could cost the university up to $20 million.
The ANU is the latest to offer compensation to students as universities fear losing students altogether to other countries or universities.
The ANU has estimated that 4000 of its 5000 Chinese students have missed the start of the academic year, still in limbo in China. The ban started on February 1 and has been extended week by week and as the coronavirus takes an increasing hold in other countries, disrupting travel and business well beyond the education sector.
Melbourne University has already offered $7500 grants, and other universities have offered lesser amounts.
ANU deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Grady Venville wrote to Chinese students on Thursday night with the offer, which the university is calling the ANU Travel Restrictions Relief Bursary.
"This bursary is to assist you with costs reasonably incurred due to the travel restrictions, including self-isolation, travel, accommodation and other related expenses," she said.
The bursary was open to students who couldn't arrive for the February 24 start of classes but who were still enrolled on June 3.
"We will assess each grant application on a case-by-case basis and will continue to show the same generosity and flexibility that we have applied to all students affected by the travel restrictions," she wrote.
The ANU has previously announced fee concessions for students impacts by the travel ban including hardship scholarships for new and the option to re-take a failed course at no cost for existing students.
For students living on campus, the university is keeping their rent agreements open until they arrive and has told students they can use the compensation money to help pay the costs.
"We are thinking of you all and can't wait to welcome you back to our campus. We are one community. We are one ANU. And together we will help each other work through these exceptionally tough times and circumstances," Professor Venville wrote.
The government relaxed is ban to allow 760 year 11 and 12 students from China into the country, saying numbers were small and they faced not being able to complete their school year if they weren't allowed in. But it has resisted any relaxation for the Chinese students, whose numbers have been estimated at up to 100,000.
The government has also resisted called for a university bailout, with opposition in its own ranks to the idea.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has said economic impact of the loss of international students would flow through the ACT economy.