Current Students

Needing Assistance?

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, 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.

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.

The Indigenous Student Services team are available for all our students, whether you are studying in Cairns or Townsville, at a regional study centre, or as an off-campus (external) student.

Contact the Indigenous Student Services Team

More information

The JCU Indigenous Education and Research Centre coordinates tutorial assistance for 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 IPAL, a student must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, and currently enrolled in an award course at JCU.

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

The Indigenous Academic Support Advisor will develop a Student Learning Plan based on the learning needs of the student, and will maintain constant contact with both the tutor and student to monitor their progress and feedback.



JCU's Indigenous Student Ambassadors are employed by the IERC to help promote JCU and the opportunities available within higher education to potential students, including those who might not otherwise consider applying to higher education.

With general direction and training, Indigenous Student Ambassadors assist IERC Staff to inspire and inform prospective students through various events including career expos, school visits, campus tours and our Summer and Winter Programs.

Student Ambassadors will be expected to use their personal experiences to talk about educational opportunities and the benefits of higher education.

To be eligible for this position, you must have successfully completed at least 12 months of your course, be a currently enrolled student, and have a Satisfactory Academic Status


The Bama Nguma-Barra Indigenous Student Association, or BNBISA, was formed in 2010 and is based at JCU's Cairns campus. The BNBISA is affiliated with the  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.


Indigenous Uni Nationals is an event that happens every year around Australia. Universities from all around Australia put together teams of Indigenous students to verse each other in a national multi-sport event that goes over 1 week.

If you're interested in the event or just keeping an eye out with what's happening with our JCU Indigenous Nationals team, join the


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.

Cultural Protocols

An ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ is a way of showing awareness of and respect for the Traditional Owners of the land on which a meeting or event is taking place.

At the event, the speaker giving the Acknowledgement of Country may be an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander from another community, or not identify with either of these cultures. The speaker should begin their proceedings by offering an Acknowledgement of Country. The Chair or Master of Ceremonies (MC) of the event is usually the appropriate person to acknowledge the Traditional Owners.

An Acknowledgement of Country, sometimes called an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners, allows people who are not Traditional Owners to pay respect to the fact that they are on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander land, and recognise the continuing connection of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their Country. This Acknowledgement can occur with or without a Welcome to Country and/or when a smaller or less formal gathering is taking place.

If a Traditional Owner happens to be present, that person is invited to give a Welcome to Country by the Chair or MC. If a Traditional Owner is not present, then the first speaker, usually the MC, must acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land where the event is taking place.

If you have organised a Welcome to Country, then once the Welcome to Country is complete, the MC will thank the Elder for welcoming them to Country and then give an Acknowledgement of Country. Subsequent speakers may also choose to give an Acknowledgement of Country.

When to include an Acknowledgement of Country

Examples of when you would give an Acknowledgement of Country at JCU as a mark of respect for the owners of the land on which the event is taken place include:

  • At the beginning of every semester for each new subject
  • Chair of Committees at the first meeting of the year
  • Significant meetings, conferences and forums with a range of internal and external stakeholders present
  • All the events listed where a Welcome to Country is given.

You are encouraged to create your own words that reflect how you feel about being on the land of Australia’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples, or you can also use the below examples which have been approved by a JCU Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group. You will also find many other examples throughout the internet.

Make every attempt to determine the name of the Traditional Owners in preparation for an event, but if you are uncertain a general acknowledgement is acceptable.


Djabugay (pronounced Jap-ur-kai)


Yirrganydji (pronounced Irri-kan-dji)


Gimuy Yidinji (pronounced Goom-eye Yidinji)


Bindal (pronounced Bin-dul)


Wulgurukaba (pronounced Wulga-rooka-ba)


Yuibera (pronounced You-berra)


Kalkadoon (pronounced Kalka-doon)


Kaurareg (pronounced Car-ra-reg)


"I acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of this country and pay my respects to the Traditional Owners and Elders, past and present, of the land on which we stand today, the [INSERT NAME(S) OF TRADITIONAL OWNER GROUPS] people.

In the spirit of reconciliation, I also acknowledge the valuable contribution that Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to make to James Cook Ƶ and the broader community."


To include Acknowledgement on a printed document, ideally it should be placed on the inside front cover, standing alone, in a place of significance.

"At James Cook Ƶ, we acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this nation. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses and study centres are located and where we conduct our business. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past, present and future. JCU is committed to honouring Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to JCU and society."


"We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work."