Elite Athlete Program

UNE is part of the National Network of Elite Athlete Friendly Universities, which supports Australia's elite athletes to achieve academic excellence whilst also pursuing a sporting career. The University supports Students who are formally recognised Elite Athletes and provides strategies that ensure that they are not unduly disadvantaged academically or financially as a consequence of participation in their sporting commitments.

What constitutes an Elite Athlete?

An Elite Athlete is a Student who is identified and recognised by one of the following organisations as an Elite Athlete representing Australia, or a State or Territory of Australia:

  • Australian Institute of Sport
  • State Institutes or Academies of Sport
  • Australian Cricketers' Association
  • Rugby Union Players' Association
  • AFL Players’ Association
  • Rugby League Professionals' Association
  • Australian Professional Footballers' Association
  • Alternatively, they must be a national squad member from Australian Sports Commission funded sports

If an athlete is not recognised by one of the above, they may submit an application for consideration to the university. The university will use its discretion in assessing student athletes.

Applying for Elite Athlete consideration

Students must self-identify and apply at the beginning of his/her first trimester at the University or the first trimester in which he/she meets the criteria for recognition as an Elite Athlete.

Student Administration and Services will confirm the Elite Athlete’s status and provide the Student with an Elite Athlete Study Access Plan (EASAP). The Student is required to provide copies of their EASAP to the School and/or Course Coordinator and/or Unit Coordinator when seeking flexible study options.

Approval for Elite Athlete status is only valid for the current trimester and Students are required to re-apply for consideration for each subsequent trimester of study. Elite Athlete status may not be applied retrospectively.

Students must complete and submit the Elite Athletes Program application form, accompanied by a training and competitive program duly endorsed by the Athlete Career Education (ACE) Advisor of the relevant national sporting body.

If you are a current UNE student please register for the Elite Athlete Program here.

Future Students can register here.

Flexible Study Options

Some of the following adjustments or modifications may be approved for a Student who is an Elite Athlete:

  • Unit and Course Coordinators where possible will incorporate individualised study sequences, which take into account an Elite Athletes sporting commitments;
  • where appropriate, waiving or minimum attendance requirements at lectures, tutorial or practicals;
  • where possible the Unit Coordinator shall arrange to provide learning materials in alternative formats if the student is unable to attend face-to-face classes during their sporting activity;
  • special consideration in the form of extensions or variation of time normally required to complete an assessment task or unit, where possible, on the grounds of being required to attend training or competitions;
  • special consideration for unit examinations will be granted where sporting requirements have negatively impacted examination performance and may include the granting of a special examination by the Head of School;
  • where attendance at national or international level major sporting competitions impact negatively upon their attendance and assessment performance, they may apply in writing to the Head of School for special consideration to withdraw from the unit/s without academic penalty (i.e. without a grade of fail on their academic record for units being undertaken in the current trimester) before the end of the relevant trimester;
  • In the event an Elite Athlete is forced to withdraw from unit/s after the census date of the unit/s to participate in training or sporting commitments, they can apply for remission of their Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) liability and/or refund of student contribution amounts or tuition fees (if paid up-front) in accordance with relevant legislation. Students should submit their application on the relevant forms to Student Administration and Services.
  • completion of some studies as a cross-institutional Student at an approved university; and
  • extension of the maximum period of candidature required to complete their course due to reduced study loads.
Elite Athlete Study Plan

Once you have registered with the Elite Athlete Program and provided relevant documentation, we will develop an Elite Athlete Study Plan (EASP).

The EASP is the formal document, developed for each registered student individually, that outlines the study and assessment adjustments available.

You are requested to forward your EASP to your unit coordinators, should you require any in-class reasonable adjustments, such as extra time for Moodle tests or extensions on assessments.

Please note that your unit coordinators need to approve and implement all in-class adjustments as well as requests for extensions of time for assignments.

Nominated Staff Contact for Elite Athletes

The University provides an initial point of contact for applicants and an appointed advocate who will liaise with various University Representatives to provide:

  • advice and guidance on academic planning;
  • support in negotiating flexibility to meet academic requirements; and
  • support in negotiating and/or implementing cross-institutional study or advanced standing arrangements.

The Elite Athlete Program Coordinator is:

Lisa Rice
Phone: 02 6773 4407
Email: www.une.edu.au/askune

Policy and Procedures

The following links may be useful:

Sporting Scholarships

2020 Scholarships are now open, applications close 1 January.

The Clem Jones Sporting Scholarshipup to $3,000Offered
Regional Australia Bank Sporting Scholarship$2,000Offered
The Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) / UNE Sporting Scholarship$1,000Offered

Here is what some current Elite Athletes have to say about the UNE Elite Athlete Program:

Sarah Cook

"The support I received from UNE made it possible for me to complete my postgraduate study, whilst competing for Australia at the highest level. Both the academic and SportUNE staff were incredibly supportive and understanding, which allowed me to train and compete at the Olympic Games, whilst setting myself up for a career after sport."   Sarah Cook (Olympic Rower)

Erin Osbourne"The University of New England has been most supportive of my endeavours in undertaking tertiary studies. UNE has provided flexible study and assessment options which have enabled me to complete my degree in Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science (Clinical Exercise Physiology) while at the same time fulfilling my commitments as a member of The Australian Women’s Cricket Team and as an employee of South Sydney Sports Medicine. Flexibility has allowed me to submit assignments and complete assessments and examinations from overseas locations at times when I have been unable to be on campus.

For on campus students, UNE's sporting and fitness centre is state of the art and provides excellent training and assessment facilities.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my study through UNE and am very grateful for the understanding and support offered me by the staff. I strongly recommend the University of New England as an institution supporting elite athletes in their academic endeavours."     Erin Osborne (Australian Cricketer)

"UNE has enabled me to achieve goals in and out of the pool. Without UNE I would not have seen myself attending university and expanding my horizons through education whilst competing for Australia at two Olympic games. UNE understands that my chosen sport can be very demanding and they are willing to assist when i need communication with teachers of my units. Other times in which i appreciate UNE the most are when I don't particularly need the assistance but they are willing to reach out to see how my studies are going. It means a lot knowing there is someone at the end of a phone or email that is willing to respond and help with your study needs."     Richie Campbell (Olympic Water Polo)

Holly Harris"For the last few years I have been studying at UNE, whilst pursuing a career in cycling. UNE has allowed me to adapt my study load to match my racing schedule, this has reduced the time pressure's involved with balancing studying and racing significantly! My lecturer's have been flexible and understanding with my study, which is particularly useful when I am racing overseas as internet access is usually very limited. I would strongly recommend UNE for athlete's wanting to balance study, training and racing."     Holly Harris (Cyclist)

"Studying externally at UNE as apart of the university's elite athlete program has given me the ability to combine my aspirations in both academic and athletic fields. I can take my study with me wherever I go, air-planes make for excellent revision time."      Joss McAlpin (Snowboarder)