The Harding Miller Education Foundation is an Australian charity that supports high potential but socio-economically disadvantaged girls across Australia through a $20,000 scholarship over 4 years of high school. Our program gives these girls the tools and resources they need to not only complete high school but to reach their potential and build direct pathways to tertiary education. We have awarded 470 scholarships since 2016 across 320+ schools in every state and territory of Australia.
Most of our scholars are from low socioeconomic circumstances, with families who struggle to put food on the table let alone purchase a new computer for a child’s education. For some there is no financial access to technology or significantly limited access as they are forced to share with multiple family members. With their own devices and educational tools and resources, these bright, hard-working young women are allowed a level playing field with peers who are more socio-economically advantaged. COVID-19 has identified a significant technology and educational gap in our education system and the need for support for disadvantaged students is great than ever. Here is a message from our ED, Cara Varian discussing the need due to COVID-19 –
The scholarship includes a high-quality laptop (Toshiba Dynabook) in the first year as well as four years of;
Each scholar is also allocated a personal coach who supports and guides them through the four years of the program. We have over 80 volunteer coaches working with us, many who have educational experiences and all with a deep passion to help the girls excel.
We also have a growing enrichment program for the scholars that introducing them to a range of career experiences to broaden their horizons about what is on offer with tertiary education. Some of our partners include Google, NAB, 3M, Mastercard, USYD, UNSW and the University of New England.
The operational costs of the scholarship program are not paid by the Harding Miller education Foundation. They are paid through a separate founding corpus by the founders of the program, Kim Harding, and Irene Miller. Due to this arrangement 100% of every donation given to HMEF goes directly to the scholarship recipients.
Every year we collect data on the usage of the tools and resources in the program. We know that as of the end of 2019 we have delivered $1M worth of tutoring and homework help, $450K worth of uniforms, textbooks, and fees, $1.1 M in technology. At the end of 2019, we had delivered 18,932 hours of tutoring through over 30 different tutors across the country, all of these elements enabling inclusion, a level playing field and the chance for these girls to make the most of their education. We are currently in the process of capacity building, enabling us to further expand and measure the impact our scholarships have on disadvantaged girls across Australia.
We convene a ‘board of experts‘ who meet, review and approve each application to ensure that they meet the selection criteria. Our panel composition is typically:o
As part of the application process and prior to receipt of any assistance from the Foundation, we gather information about the student from:
This combination of sources allows us to obtain a full and independently verified picture of their circumstances. thereby ensuring that the student is necessitous and disadvantaged and meets the selection criteria.
What is deemed as disadvantaged?
A range of factors contribute to disadvantage. In our experience we generally see this manifesting in an inter-connected combination of the following factors:
Women continue to be over represented in areas of disadvantage and underrepresented in positions of power and influence. We know that investing in women build stronger families. communities and economies. Harnessing the potential of women would increase the Australian GDP by 11% according to Goldman Sachs estimates the pay gap between men and women currently costs the Australian economy $93 billion every year.
In Australia. women earn 83c in the dollar compared to men. Women in Australia are two and a halftimes more likely to live in poverty in their old age than men. In 2014. Australia was the worst performing country in the OECD for women at work. according to the WC Women in Work Index. The percentage of women on boards is now at 16.1% according to the Australian Institute of Companies Directors. Women work 66% of the world‘s working hours yet earn only 10% of the world‘s income. On average women reinvest 90% of their wages into the family while men reinvest 30-40%.