Schools Upgrade Fund Open Round frequently asked questions


The Australian Government is providing grants of up to $25,000 to help schools and their students get back on track after disruptions caused by COVID-19. To explain the initiative, some frequently asked questions are available.

Where can I find an example application form?

An example application form can be found within the School Upgrade Fund Guidelines at Attachment A.

What if my school is not appearing as eligible?

Ensure you have spelt your school name correctly and then selected your school from the drop-down list.

What if a project is not going to be completed by 31 December 2023 because of unforeseen circumstances?

As per the School Upgrade Fund Guidelines, a school must have spent or committed to spend funding by 31 December 2023.

What happens if a school has submitted two or more applications and the application closing date has passed?

The Department of Education can only accept one application per school, and we will assess the application submitted nearest to the closing date. Earlier applications submitted by a school will not be considered.

Are upgrades to fencing around a school playground eligible for funding under the Open Round?

This type of project would generally fall within project category 2b. Please refer to the ‘eligible funding activities’ section in the School Upgrade Fund Guidelines.

Are upgrades to school boarding facilities eligible for funding?

As per section 39 of the Guidelines - funding is not available for a facility that is not in a formal school setting. This restriction extends to boarding facilities. This further reflects the intention of funding provided under the Australian Education Act 2013 - for the provision of school education at schools.

What kinds of administrative data could be used by the department as part of the moderation process for the Schools Upgrade Fund Open Round?

The department holds a range of administrative data that supports the calculation of Australian Government needs-based funding to schools.

For example, deidentified full-time equivalent school-level data for students with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and low-English proficiency students.

For the "estimated project cost", do schools need to obtain quotes?

Schools must be able to demonstrate a reasonable basis for the estimated project cost. A quote would help guide the estimate.

What is the process for a school to seek a project variation to an approved project?

  • Schools are expected to fully deliver approved projects, unless the department agrees that exceptional circumstances exist justifying a project variation and approves that variation. Please also refer clause 74 of the Schools Upgrade Fund Guidelines:
    • if a school considers that an approved project may require a variation to its scope, it will need to seek the department’s approval with additional information as to the exceptional circumstances supporting the variation.
  • Exceptional circumstances may include one or more of the following:
    • reasonably unforeseeable
    • beyond the school’s control
    • circumstances that prevent the project from being able to be delivered, and which cannot be reasonably managed or controlled within the existing project scope.
  • In addition to the above, if the school was funded under the Schools Upgrade Fund Targeted Round then any variation request should still fall within the original intent and/or objective of the election commitment. This is to help ensure that the overarching outcome for the commitment is maintained.

For all project variation queries or requests, schools should contact the Schools Upgrade Fund Team at

Is professional learning for school staff an eligible funding activity under the Schools Upgrade Fund Open Round?

As per paragraph 8 of the Schools Upgrade Fund Guidelines, the objective of the Fund is to provide grants for priority, small-scale capital projects that support student learning in schools.

As such, professional learning for school staff is not an eligible funding activity.

Why am I unable to access my school’s saved incomplete application and/or why has my school been contacted advising that its application has been withdrawn for the Open Round?

On 1 February, the Department became aware of an inadvertent error in the online application form for the Open Round.

Unfortunately, this error has meant that schools may have been prompted to answer an incorrect scored question for particular projects – that is, where a selected project was for air-conditioning and/or ventilation.

This may have resulted in schools being prompted to answer a scored question that relates to ventilation, when selecting air-conditioning as the project, and similarly being prompted to answer a scored question that relates to air-conditioning, when selecting ventilation as the project.

The Department has corrected and updated the online application form - to ensure that the correct scored question applies.

As a result of the above, incomplete applications that started before 2 February, and applications that had already been submitted where air-conditioning and/or ventilation was selected for the project, were required to be withdrawn. This was necessary to ensure that the correct and updated online application form applied.

Impacted schools that had provided contact details in their application have been contacted directly by the Department, and advised to complete and submit a new application in order to be considered for the Open Round

If you consider that your school may have been impacted and your school has not yet been contacted directly, please email