There has been little research conducted about scholarships administered to students in financial need from an Australian or international perspective. Despite the dearth of information about what impact receiving a scholarship may have on financially disadvantaged students, there is much written about the diversity of circumstances that may cause disadvantage to students. This article presents some of the key findings of research undertaken in 2005 on the impact of equity scholarships on students in financial need at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. Although using relatively small numbers, the results do, however, give a clear message of the level of relief the scholarships provide. Although to be read in an Australian context, the findings show relief in the forms of retention and standard of living - relevant to institutions anywhere in the world. Ultimately, a larger-scale, nationwide study should be carried out, and comparisons made with the impact of relief given in other countries.