Education is a great elevator, says entrepreneur and novelist John M Green, who has given half a million dollars to a new scholarship scheme to help disadvantaged students study Law at UNSW.

The six new John M Green scholarships, worth $100,000 each, will provide students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the funds necessary to cover living and study expenses. Two scholarships will be awarded each year from 2012 to 2014.

Announcing the scheme, Chancellor David Gonski said: "The John M Green Scholarships will help open up the law to young Australians who might not otherwise have such an opportunity. We are incredibly grateful for John's generous donation".

Interest from investing the $500,000 will generate an additional $100,000, enabling a total of six $100,000 scholarships. The scholarship winners will be announced at the end of January each year following selection by a UNSW panel and Mr Green.

Mr Green, a UNSW Law School alumnus form the inaugural class in 1971, is a leading company director, business writer and novelist. After graduating from UNSW he worked as a lawyer, becoming a partner first at Dawson Waldron and then Freehills. He then spent many years as an investment banker, and as an Executive Director at Macquarie Bank. In 2008, he and his family founded book publisher Pantera Press.

"Education is a great elevator. My parents escaped war-torn Europe, arriving here with little education, no money, no English and no jobs, but passionate that their kids receive the education they couldn't," Mr Green says.

"UNSW and its Law School were critical in opening the paths I have since taken, and helped inspire me and many of my classmates to make a difference in our later lives well beyond making money.

"In committing to these six scholarships I am helping to oil the education elevator so kids without an easy start to life, yet who show great potential, get a boost in reaching that potential. I'm also thanking UNSW and its Law School for what I gained there."

Media contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media | 02 9385 8107 |