Reach your educational goal with a Northcott Tertiary Scholarship

By Gretta Serov, 6 November 2019 , Comments

Northcott’s Thomas Hepburn Lennox Scholarships program is currently open to people with physical disability looking for support with their tertiary studies in 2020. Since 1999, some 120 students with disability – including 2019 NSW Australian of the Year, Kurt Fearnley – have benefitted from this financial assistance and professional support.

In May this year, Northcott employee and former customer, Gretta Serov, graduated from Western Sydney University (WSU), with WSU Deputy Chancellor and Northcott CEO, Kerry Stubbs awarding her certificate. Back in 2015, Gretta was a recipient of a Thomas Hepburn Lennox Scholarship. Here she talks about the difference this financial assistance – and graduating from university – has made to her life.

Study! If you are a young person anywhere in the world today you would probably feel that the topic of study appears in most of your discussions in your daily life. But what if you have a disability? How can you get your finances organised to pay the extra costs such as wheelchair accessible taxis just so that you can attend classes?

As you’ve probably heard, there are a lot of companies and organisations out there that provide ample support to those who are studying, especially students with disability. The majority of the time this support comes in the form of scholarships which are much needed by those of us who have very limited employment opportunities. For example, having a disability might mean you’re not able to work in a coffee shop, but, like me, you can earn some money as a writer – although this sometimes can clash with periods when assignments are due.

Not surprisingly, Northcott is right among these organisations offering study assistance, with a range of scholarships available to people with disability. These financial scholarships provide students with funding to cover expenses such as accessible taxis, carer support, textbooks and even equipment, such as computers and iPads, that many of us literally can’t write or even talk without.

I’ve just graduated from a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in cultural and social analysis and minoring in English and Aboriginal Affairs at Western Sydney University. I was very lucky to be granted a Thomas Hepburn Lennox Scholarship in 2015, the third year of my degree.

This particular year marked the literal middle of my degree and although I was absolutely loving my time at uni, and I had a pretty awesome casual job at the time, I was still struggling to pay for resources such as books, while trying to juggle my other expenses. I was never sure whether to use my Community Participation funding on carers or getting transport from where I lived in the Blue Mountains to uni. Replacing outdated equipment such as a computer and an iPad, which I am unable to type or even speak without, was also a strain. For these reasons, it soon became obvious to me that receiving Northcott’s Thomas Hepburn Lennox Scholarship was an incredible boost for me. It really set me up for the final half of my degree.

Fast forward to today, and I feel like the six years that it took me to complete my degree were absolutely the making of me now. Studying at university has definitely grown my social life, confidence and maturity, not to mention my professional skills in writing and presenting.

If you’re considering launching into a degree or any form of study, I highly recommend that you follow those dreams of studying. Where you can, definitely access the scholarships Northcott offers to assist students with disability because they are absolutely there to support you to reach your educational goals and achieve the future you dream of.

Applications for 2020 Thomas Hepburn Lennox Scholarships close on 22 November 2019. If you have questions about the scholarship, please contact Isabel Chapman at

Related content

Dr Dinesh Palipana’s is another recipient of a Northcott Tertiary Scholarship. Read about his journey to becoming a doctor.

Valued Northcott supporter, volunteer and friend, Thomas Hepburn, passed away in February 2019. Read a touching tribute from Northcott’s librarian.


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