Our Universities - Exempt Fee-Waiver and Fee-Pay Scholarships from Social Security Income Tests 

What's New?

All scholarships that pay tuition fees on a student's behalf, or waive all or part of a student's tuition fee, will no longer be included as income under the social security income test.

Legislation will be amended so that all non-discretionary scholarships that waive or pay a student's tuition fees will not be subject to the social security income test. The measure applies to scholarships offered in the secondary, vocational education and training and higher education sectors.

As part of the previously announced Higher Education reforms, Commonwealth Learning Scholarships and scholarships that fully waive university fees are already exempt, from 1 January 2004.

These are joint measures with the Department of Education, Science and Training.


Fee-waiver scholarships are where all or part of the cost of fees and/or charges associated with the course of study are waived.

Fee-pay scholarships are where the institution or other entity pays fees on behalf of the student and the student has no discretion over the use of the funds.

Commonwealth Learning Scholarships, introduced in the 2003–04 Budget, are designed to increase participation in higher education by financially disadvantaged students. These scholarships provide financial assistance towards education and accommodation costs.


11 May 2004 – Exempt Fee-Waiver And Fee-Pay Scholarships From Social Security Income Tests.
1 January 2004 – Exempt Commonwealth Learning Scholarships From Social Security Income Tests.

Total Financial Impact on the former FaCS Portfolio

$29.1 million over five years.

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