Student payments

Better Alignment of Student Payments

From 1 January 2018, the approval of tertiary courses for student payment purposes will change. Student payments will be restricted to those VET courses (at diploma level and above) and education providers that are approved for VET Student Loans (VSL). Higher education courses will also be restricted to courses offered by providers approved for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) from 1 January 2018.

Students undertaking secondary school courses and VET courses below diploma level (such as certificate level I-IV courses) will not be affected by this change.

These new requirements will affect Youth Allowance (student), Austudy, ABSTUDY, and Pensioner Education Supplement. Students who are current recipients of these payments will continue to receive their payments until they finish their course, provided there is no break in entitlement.

Aligning VET and higher education study eligibility with VET Student Loans and HELP will create greater consistency of student payments with existing types of Commonwealth support.

This measure follows the recent replacement of VET FEE-HELP (which was available for study in all courses) with VSL (which is a targeted program) on 1 January 2017. Course eligibility for VSL looks at courses that have a high national priority, meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages and align with strong employment outcomes.

No specific higher education courses will be affected in their eligibility for student payments; it is the status of the course provider being approved for HELP that will determine student payments eligibility.

The lists of tertiary VET courses and providers approved for VSL are available:

The list of higher education providers approved for HELP is available.

Student support payments

Youth Allowance (student)

Youth Allowance (student) is a means tested payment for full-time students and Australian Apprentices aged 16-24 years.

Further information on eligibility and payment rates of Youth Allowance (student) is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, Students and Trainees area, on 13 2490.

Austudy

Austudy is a means tested payment for full-time students and Australian apprentices aged 25 years and over.

Further information on eligibility and payment rates of Austudy is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, Students and Trainees area, on 13 2490.

ABSTUDY

ABSTUDY is a means tested payment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and Australian apprentices.

Further information on eligibility and payment rates of ABSTUDY is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, ABSTUDY Students and Trainees area, on 1800 132 317.

The ABSTUDY policy manual provides additional information and is available on the Guides to Social Policy Law website.

Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme

The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme helps eligible parents and carers with the extra costs of educating their children when they cannot go to an appropriate government school.

Parents and carers may need to access the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme because:

  • they live in an isolated area
  • their child has a disability
  • their child has special health needs.

If an appropriate government school is not available, the family can choose a different school for the child to attend and they may receive financial assistance with the additional costs.

Parents and carers may be able to receive:

  • Basic and Additional Boarding Allowances
  • Distance Education Allowance
  • Second Home Allowance
  • Pensioner Education Supplement.

All allowances under the scheme, except the Additional Boarding Allowance, are not income or assets tested, but applicants must meet eligibility criteria.

The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme Guidelines provide additional information and are available on the Guides to Social Policy Law website.

Further information on eligibilty and Assistance for Isolated Children Allowances is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, Assistance for Isolated Children area, on 13 2318.

Other assistance

Student Start-up Loan

Full-time higher education students undertaking a relevant approved course and receiving Youth Allowance (student), Austudy or ABSTUDY Living Allowance may be eligible for the Student Start-up Loan to help with the up-front costs of studying.

Students are required to repay the Loan once their income exceeds the minimum repayment threshold. Payment arrangements are managed by the Australian Taxation Office in the same manner as the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debts. Repayment of the Loan is delayed until after any HELP debt is completely repaid. View the current minimum repayment threshold.

Students already receiving a Student Start-up Scholarship, ABSTUDY Student Start-up Scholarship or Commonwealth Education Cost Scholarship will not be eligible for a Student Start-up Loan.

Further information on Student Start-up Loan eligibility and payment rates is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, Students and Trainees area on 13 2490.

Student Start-up Scholarship

Please note: From 1 January 2016, the Student Start-up Scholarship is no longer available to new student payment recipients (Youth Allowance (student), Austudy or ABSTUDY Living Allowance) undertaking higher education. Students instead may apply for a Student Start-up Loan.

Students who received a Student Start-up Scholarship prior to 1 January 2016 and remained continuously on student payments (Youth Allowance (student), Austudy or ABSTUDY Living Allowance) will continue to receive the Student Start-up Scholarship as a grant until 1 July 2017. After this date, the Student Start-up Scholarship will no longer be available.

Full-time higher education students in receipt of Youth Allowance (student), Austudy or ABSTUDY Living Allowance and undertaking a relevant approved course may be eligible for the Student Start-up Scholarship to help with the up-front costs of studying if they had received a Student Start-up Scholarship or Commonwealth Education Cost Scholarship prior to 1 January 2016 and remained continuously in receipt of student payments since that time.

Further information on Student Start-up Scholarship eligibility and payment rates is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, Students and Trainees area on 13 2490.

Relocation Scholarship

Full-time dependent (and some independent) higher education students undertaking a relevant approved course, who are moving to or from a regional area, who need to live away from home to study and receive Youth Allowance (student) or ABSTUDY Living Allowance may be eligible for Relocation Scholarship payments.

Metropolitan students are only eligible for a Relocation Scholarship if they relocate to study at a regional campus.

Further information on Relocation Scholarship eligibility and payment rates is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, Students and Trainees area on 13 2490.

Fares Allowance

Fares Allowance helps cover the cost of travelling between a student’s permanent home and their place of study if the student has to live away from home to study.

Further information on eligibility and claiming Fares Allowance is available on the Department of Human Services website, or by calling the Department of Human Services, Students and Trainees area on 13 2490.

Approved institutions and courses for student payments

An approved course of education or study is one approved for student payments by the Minister for Social Services.

To find out more information about approved courses for student payments, visit the approved courses page.

Masters by coursework

Eligible students may receive Youth Allowance, Austudy or Pensioner Education Supplement while undertaking approved Masters by coursework programs that are required for entry to a profession.

To find out more information about Masters by coursework approval for student payments, go to the approved courses page.

Last updated: