Scholarships for veterans’ families

The family members of veterans have received scholarships, supported by RSL NSW sub-Branches, via a program administered by the Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust.

At a glance:

  • The daughter of a former SAS soldier and the granddaughter of a Vietnam veteran are among those who have received an AVCAT scholarship.
  • These and other programs exemplify what can be funded by contributions made by RSL sub-Branches via the RSL NSW Veteran Support Fund.
  • Two recent recipients, Danielle Peck and Georgia Greig, say the financial assistance provided by the scholarship has helped them focus on their studies.
  • For their veteran family members, the scholarship represents a recognition of and appreciation for their military service.

The family members of veterans have received scholarships, supported by RSL sub-Branches in NSW, via a program administered by the Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust (AVCAT).

AVCAT scholarships and bursaries are available for tertiary students who are the children or grandchildren of ex-serving veterans. RSL NSW sub-Branches continue to work together to contribute to the state-wide RSL NSW Veteran Support Fund to ensure veterans and their families can access support and services such as scholarships.

Updates to the Standard Operating Procedure governing contributions to the Fund mean that sub-Branches, together as one RSL NSW, can more effectively fund charitable initiatives and deliver better outcomes. Learn more here.

Education assistance is also available via RSL NSW’s partner charity RSL LifeCare Veteran Services, which recently provided, in collaboration with Optus and ASI Solutions, 50 laptops to veterans and their families to access courses and employment opportunities.

“Education and employment are so important for supporting your mental wellbeing and providing for your family,” said David Anderson, RSL LifeCare Executive General Manager Veteran Services. “We know the value that veterans’ experience brings to the workforce. This program is about enabling access to the courses and opportunities that help them showcase their skills.”

AVCAT scholarship recipients Danielle Peck, a student at Australian National University, and Georgia Greig, a student at the University of Wollongong, are a daughter and a granddaughter, respectively, of veterans. We asked them about the veteran connection in their family and what it means to receive an AVCAT scholarship, and also heard from a family member about the recognition of service provided by the scholarship.

Danielle and Georgia, how will the financial assistance provided by RSL sub-Branches in NSW via AVCAT assist you in your studies?

Danielle Peck: “It was a relief to know that I have the support not only of my parents but a whole organisation to which my family is connected. Receiving a scholarship reinforces that I’m not alone in my studies.”

Georgia Greig: “It’s been amazing because the pressure has fallen off my shoulders. I currently work two jobs, but before receiving the scholarship I had been working three. I now have the financial stability to allow me to focus more on my studies.”

Read how the Parkes RSL sub-Branch has changed the way it invests sub-Branch funds so it can better support local veterans and their families.

Tell us about your veteran family member (or members).

DP: “My father Mark served in the Army from 1980-86. By the end of 1981 he had completed the SAS selection process. He served in the counterterrorism, vehicle-mounted and free fall units.

“My mum is from Kazakhstan, and my great-grandfather fought for the Soviet Union in World War II. So there’s been extensive military involvement on both sides of my family.”

GG: “My grandfather Richard is a Vietnam veteran who served from 1960-99 as a petty officer in the Navy. During this time, he fought in the Indonesia Confrontation.

“He was actually the one to get me to apply. He had learnt about the scholarship offer in a magazine, then called me and said it might be a good fit.”

Mark and Richard, what is your perspective on the support provided by the scholarship? Does it signify a recognition of your service in any way?

Mark Peck: “Danielle and I are very grateful for the scholarship and the ongoing support provided by RSL sub-Branches.

“Personally, it provides recognition of and appreciation for my service – a pat on the back that says, ‘We valued your time in the Army’.

“There are many additional costs incurred by a family in supporting a child through university, and the funds have come in very handy to offset some of these. This generous support enables our daughter to concentrate on her studies. It’s been a huge relief.”

Richard Wilson: “It was certainly very pleasant to receive recognition for my service. And we’re very proud of Georgia – she has worked hard.

“It’s a credit to AVCAT and RSL sub-Branches that they are willing to provide financial aid to young people. Hopefully they’ll put it to good use, and I’m sure Georgia will.”

Danielle and Georgia, your applications were sponsored by a representative from an RSL sub-Branch. What does their support mean to you?

DP: “My sponsor Robert Grant is an amazing individual. When we met at the AVCAT scholarship presentation, I learnt he has five degrees!

“It’s good to know I have people who know what I’m going through. It’s like a warm hug.”

GG: “I’m really appreciative of AVCAT and especially the RSL sub-Branch. I met my sponsor Phil Hurren, who is a very lovely person. He was very interested in what I’m studying, which gave me a boost. It helped to know that it was all worth it in the end.”

Applications for the next round of AVCAT scholarships close on 31 October. Applicants must be enrolled or planning to enrol in a full-time course for one or more academic years at a university or TAFE in 2024, and be the child, stepchild, foster child or grandchild of an Australian veteran.

Your support matters. RSL sub-Branches can help provide assistance to veterans and their families by donating to the RSL NSW Veteran Support Fund.

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