Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme: Information Booklet for 2012
The Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme
The MRBS Scheme is an Australian Government initiative designed to address doctor shortages outside metropolitan areas across Australia.
The MRBS Scheme provides one hundred additional Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) each year to first year Australian medical students at participating universities across the country.
Students who join the MRBS Scheme are eligible to receive a scholarship payment which is indexed annually during the course of study. In 2012, MRBS Scheme students will receive $25,013.
In return, following attainment of Fellowship of a specialist college, including General Practice, doctors will work for six continuous years (less any credit obtained through Scaling) in rural or remote areas of Australia. This is referred to as Return of Service Obligation (RSO). ‘Scaling’, will allow MRBS Scheme participants the opportunity to reduce the length of their RSO. Scaling is explained in more detail on page 16 in this booklet.
The need for more doctors in rural Australia is widely recognised and many communities have identified having a local doctor as high on their list of health priorities. Addressing these issues requires a partnership approach between government, universities and particularly doctors who are willing to make a real commitment to providing medical services to communities in areas of most need.
Accordingly, students joining the MRBS Scheme will enter into a Contract with the Commonwealth in the expectation that they will make a firm undertaking to honour this agreement.
The application and selection process for an MRBS Scheme place is determined by the university following the submission of an application to study medicine.
While different universities may seek expressions of interest in an MRBS Scheme place in different ways, the opportunity to receive an MRBS Scheme place is available to all students accepted into a medical school. Several universities require an expression of interest to receive an MRBS Scheme place to be lodged online (via the internet).
If you wish to seek further information on the application processes used by one or more universities, you may contact the medical school directly. A comprehensive list of participating universities including contact details is on page 5 of this booklet.
Applications are open to Australian citizens and permanent residents of Australia. Citizenship and residency status are determined by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship. These conditions are outlined below.
Whether you are an Australian citizen by birth depends on the date of your birth.
Most children born in Australia before 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens by birth unless one parent was entitled to diplomatic privileges or was a consular officer of another country.
Children born after that date are only Australian citizens if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth.
Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia.
Having permanent residency means you have a current visa that permits you to live in Australia indefinitely. There are many different types of visas that provide permanent residency for citizenship purposes. You can use the Visa Wizard to find a visa of this type.
Further information about citizenship and permanent residency status can be obtained by contacting the Department of Immigration or by visiting their website at www.immi.gov.au
The Scholarship is paid in 10 equal instalments from March to December, for as long as it normally takes to complete the medical course. Payments are made directly into a scholar’s bank account.
The indexed amount of the Scholarship for 2012 is $25,013. Indexation assures a real level of funding is maintained during the course of study for a medical degree.
Scholarship holders are advised to plan their finances to cover the months of January and February, when no payments are made.
The Scholarship currently meets the requirements of exemption under 51-10 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and is therefore exempt from income tax. MRBS Scheme participants are not required to include the Scholarship income in their tax return. However, the Scholarship is considered to be income for Youth Allowance and other Centrelink payments.Top of page
Further Support for MRBS Scheme Participants
In addition to the scholarship payments, a comprehensive suite of networking and communication activities are made available to help you prepare for your future work in rural and remote areas of Australia. The Department has engaged the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) for this purpose.
Under this program, ACRRM provides a range of support services to MRBS Scheme scholars including online discussions, forums, networking information as well as provision of relevant information via the web, telephone, face to face and newsletters.
As part of the Support Program, ACRRM offers a conference program to provide you with information and access to rural and remote health oriented events. MRBS Scheme scholars are able to access assistance to attend these conferences as required.
To enable participation in the Support Program, students’ personal contact details will be provided to ACRRM after the MRBS Scheme Contract has been signed.
Rural and Remote Classification
The classification system for the MRBS Scheme is based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA), as amended from time to time. The current system groups locations into ‘remoteness areas’ to determine eligible areas for MRBS Scheme doctors completing their return service obligations.
The ASGC-RA classification system is updated after each census so the geographical areas, and thus RA categories, may change over time. Current RA categories can be checked by visiting the departmental website Doctor Connect at: www.doctorconnect.gov.au
The MRBS Scheme Contract
Following an offer of an MRBS Scheme place from the medical school of your university, you will receive a contractual agreement outlining the terms and conditions you will need to adhere to by entering into a formal agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia.
Joining the MRBS Scheme is a legal commitment and you will be encouraged to seek legal advice to ensure that you fully understand all the terms and conditions before signing the agreement. Your obligations to the Commonwealth are set out in detail in the MRBS Scheme Contract. A copy of the standard MRBS Scheme Contract is available for your information at: www.health.gov.au/mrbscholarships.
The provisions of the MRBS Scheme Contract are supported by section 19ABA of the Health Insurance Act 1973.
Return of Service Obligations (RSO)
On attainment of Fellowship you will be required to work as a specialist MRBS Scheme doctor (including General Practice) in rural or remote areas of Australia for six continuous years, less any credits obtained through Scaling.
More Information and Links
Further information about the MRBS Scheme, such as RSO and Scaling, is outlined in further detail in this booklet. A separate information booklet outlining the Bonded Medical Places (BMP) Scheme can be accessed by visiting the departmental website at www.health.gov.au/bmpscheme.
You may also like to direct your enquires via our free-call hotline for both the MRBS Scheme on 1800 248 720 or the BMP on 1800 987 104.