Student Guide: Government assistance for Students |

Government assistance for students

Besides assisting with your tuition fees, the Australian Government also offers other incentives.

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Apart from assisting you with the fees of your education via the aforementioned loan schemes, the government also offers other types of payments to help anyone who is studying, training or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship. Thus, you can access benefits such as ABSTUDY, Austudy and Youth Allowance, which are designed to give you the financial support you need while you are studying or training.

Eligibility to get benefits from Centrelink

If you are any of the following, you might be eligible for Centrelink benefits:

  • A full-time student, trainee or Australian Apprentice who requires financial assistance.
  • A full time student, trainee or Australian Apprentice who is already getting Centrelink assistance such as Disability Support Pension or Newstart Allowance.
  • The family or carer of a full-time student, trainee or Australian Apprentice.

What you need to know about Government assistance for Students

The government offers financial assistance to help you cover your expenses while you are finishing school, undergoing tertiary education or undertaking a traineeship or Australian Apprenticeship.


This offers assistance with your expenses if you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian and you are studying or undergoing an Australian Apprenticeship.
Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme. This is designed to help the families and carers of children living in isolated areas with the additional expenses involved in providing their children with education.
Austudy. This is designed to assist full-time students and Australian Apprentices who are older than 25, while Youth Allowance is meant to help young people in full-time courses or training, or if they're looking for work, sick or undergoing a full-time Australian Apprenticeship.

Austudy assistance

These payments are generally available throughout the study year, but also between courses and during semester breaks.

If you are a student or trainee, you might also be able to get further assistance. For example, the Youth Disability Supplement offers additional financial help to young people who have an intellectual, psychiatric or physical disability if they are already receiving certain income assistance payments. The Education Entry Payment is for students or trainees who are already getting certain income assistance payments to help them pay for their study costs.

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Payments for travel expenses

Fares Allowance is designed to help you if you live away from your home so you can undertake your studies. These payments cover the expense of travelling between the location of your study and your residence. The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme is meant to assist parents and carers who reside in rural and remote areas with the additional expenses of educating their children.

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A closer look at Youth Allowance

Youth Allowance is designed to provide you with financial assistance if you are between 16 and 24 years old and are studying full-time, training, undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship or looking for employment.



To qualify for Youth Allowance you have to either be:

  • 16 to 21 years old and undertaking approved activities or looking for full-time employment
  • 18 to 24 years old and studying full-time
  • 16 to 17 years old and have finished year 12 or the equivalent
  • 16 to 17 years old and in full-time secondary study and be obligated to live away from your regular residence to study or are considered independent
  • 16 to 24 years old and enrolled in a full-time Australian Apprenticeship

The following table shows approximately how much you can get via Youth Allowance. However, note that this is just a guide because you will have to undergo an income and assets test to determine exactly how much you will be eligible to receive. If you are dependent, the parental-means test will be utilised and if you are under 18, your payments will be made to a parent or a guardian.

Your situation

Maximum payment every two weeks

Single, under 18, living in your parents' home, no children


Single, under 18, must live away from home to study, no children


Single, over 18, living in your parents' home, no children


Single, over 18, must live away from home, no children


Single, with children


Part of a couple, no children


Part of a couple, with children


Single, looking for work, main carer granted an activity test exemption for either of the following:

  • Registered and active foster carer

  • Offering your children home schooling

  • Facilitating distance education for your children

  • Caring for a large family

  • Caring for a child when you are a relative


Certain special payment rates also apply. If you're 22 years or older, are starting a full-time course and are a long-term income assistance recipient who is getting or has gotten any support other than student payments for a minimum of 26 weeks out of the past 39 weeks you could be eligible. If you're a migrant student who doesn't speak English as your first language and are undergoing an approved course in English you may be eligible.

Your situation

Maximum payment every two weeks

Single and living in your parents' home


Single and having to live away from your parents' home


Part of a couple without children


Every now and again, the Youth Allowance payment you receive will be reviewed and it could be adjusted if your situation or that of your family changes. For example, if there is a change in your income, you move house or you separate from your partner, the amount you receive could be changed.

An income and assets test will be used to determine how much you can receive in Youth Allowance payments.

How the income and assets test work

If you are a dependent, the Personal Income Test and a Parental Means Test will be utilised to determine how much you can receive in Youth Allowance.

You will be considered a dependent if you are under 22 years old, a student and don't fulfil any of the independence criteria. Since you are a dependent, note that your parents' income and their assets could have an effect on whether or not you are eligible and how much you receive.

If you are independent, the amount you can receive in Youth Allowance will be determined using a Personal Income Test and a Personal Assets Test.

Income test

Your parents' income and assets are usually not taken into account if you are independent. However, if you are a student and come from a regional or remote area and are applying for Youth Allowance under the earnings or part-time work independence criteria, the income of your parents will be taken into account. In such cases, your parents must earn less than $150,000.

If you are an independent and are part of a couple, your partner's income and assets will be taken into account.

Personal income test

Your eligibility will be determined using a Personal Income Test, which will also be used to calculate exactly how much you can receive if you qualify for Youth Allowance.

Note that the general criteria for a student or apprentice are as follows:

  • Your payment will not be affected as long as you earn $405 or less before tax every two weeks
  • If your income is between $405 and $486, your payment will be lowered by 50 cents for every dollar
  • If your income is greater than $486, your payment will be lowered by 60 cents in the dollar

Personal assets test

If you are independent and a student, job seeker or apprentice, this test will be used. The assets limits will differ according to whether or not you are part of a couple or own a property.

Parental means test

If you do not meet the conditions of an independent, then the Parental Means Test will be applied. This test consists of three parts, namely the Parental Income Test, the Family Assets Test and the Family Actual Means Test.

The Parental Income Test looks at the taxable income of both of your parents, child benefits, fringe benefits employers offer, income received from outside the country, superannuation contributions that are reportable and net losses from investments.

If your parents' income before tax is less than $47,815, your Youth Allowance payments will not be affected. If they earn more than this amount, then your payment will be lowered by 20 cents per dollar. If your parents have more than one dependent child, the situation of your siblings may affect how much you receive.

parental means test

The Family Assets Test looks at all assets, including personal, farm and business. The test takes into account how much your family would get if they sold off their assets, after deducting their debts and mortgages. The family home is not taken into account and a discount of 75% is applied to farm and business assets. You are not eligible to receive Youth Allowance if your family has more than $627,000 in assets.



The Family Actual Means Test applies if one or both of your parents in the last financial year:

  • Had an interest in a private company, an unlisted private company or a trust
  • Were self-employed or part of a partnership
  • Earned more than $2,500 from outside Australia
  • Earned a wage or salary and claimed or will claim a tax deduction for a business loss that is not the result of a net investment loss in partnership income tax returns
  • Is a migrant who first came to Australia under the business skills category in the past ten years
  • Held an interest in any asset outside Australia worth more than $2,500

If your parents meet any of the above conditions, you will have to provide details of all expenditure and savings for your parents and all dependent family members. These figures will be used to work out the amount that will be used in the Parental Means Test.

Residence conditions for Youth Allowance eligibility

You also need to meet certain residence conditions to qualify to receive Youth Allowance payments. Thus, you need to be a resident of Australia, be physically present in the country when you file the claim and continue to fulfil these conditions for as long as you receive this payment. Note that if you are a newly arrived resident, you generally have to wait 104 weeks before you qualify, though there are some exemptions.

Length of time permissible to receive Youth Allowance while studying

Referred to as 'allowable time', the length of time you can receive Youth Allowance payments while studying is calculated according to the minimum time it would take to finish the course you are currently on. The time frames are as follows:

Normal course duration

Allowable time

Less or equal to one year

Maximum of twice the duration of the course

More than one year with a minimum of one subject in the current year being a year long

The minimum duration of the course plus one year

More than one year with no year-long subjects

The minimum duration of the course plus one semester

Year 12

Two attempts

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Other student benefits

Besides all the government assistance you receive, you also have access to Student Cards, which are designed to help you by offering you discounts on a variety of products and services, including access to clubs, gyms, book swap services and more at more attractive rates. The benefits are dependent on the university you are attending.

other student benefits

For example, the Student Edge card offers a variety of discounts and free items from major brands. As a Student Edge card holder you will have access to a wide range of competitions and giveaways on a weekly basis and you will be informed right away regarding any good deals on festivals, movies, concerts and various other events. Membership is free and you also get a wide range of other information that can help you including access to a jobs board featuring the most recent full-time, part-time, grad and volunteering positions.

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20 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    RaviMay 17, 2019

    My son is a full time university student who is living with us. He is 21 years old. Me and my wife make around $200k per year. Is my son eligible for youth allowance? If yes, how he can apply?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiMay 18, 2019Staff

      Hi Ravi,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      Since your son is studying full-time and is within the allowed age, he may be eligible for the youth allowance. Your income and assets needs to be assessed. You and your wife’s income and assets could have an effect on whether or not your son will be eligible and how much will he receive. He will not be eligible to receive Youth Allowance if your family has more than $627,000 in assets. To apply, please contact Centrelink.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,

    Default Gravatar
    TrishaFebruary 27, 2019

    Hi ,I’m a 50 yr old Aboriginal lady who is on a disability support pension,I have just started a course in design at my local Tafe the course runs for a year .2 days a week.Am I entitled to any benefit that may help with the cost of books / tools / supplies that may be needed.Also if I am eligible do they back pay to the date when I started the course or do they go from the date of form lodgement thankyou.Trish

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiFebruary 28, 2019

      Hi Trish,

      Thanks for reaching out! The government gives aboriginals assistance called ABSTUDY and you can see the information about it above. It gives support for aboriginals who are studying or undergoing an Australian Apprenticeship. To know if you will be covered, you can ask your state how to get started on the support program.

      Hope this helps!


    Default Gravatar
    JasNovember 23, 2018

    I am 18 and I am an Australian Citizen.
    What if my parents don’t financially support me
    And I can’t live in their home anymore because I feel depressed living with my dad.
    What type of youth allowence will I get
    And I’m not going to start my studies until March 2019.
    And I want to live on my own and I am still looking for work.
    Would they still check my parents pay even though they won’t support me.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Jas,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      As an 18-year old individual, there are payments and services to help support you if you are becoming independent from your parents or carer. You have to choose among the different programs such as t Youth Allowance, Newstart Allowance or ABSTUDY. The government would assess your family situation and status. For this reason, it would be a good idea to directly get in touch with them and determine your eligibility.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    AmadSeptember 25, 2018


    I am applying for youth allowance but I am really stuck in that question (what is estimated upfront expenses). Can you clarify it for me?


      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniSeptember 30, 2018Staff

      Hi Amad,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Youth Allowance is to help students with the up-front costs of study such as textbooks and specialised equipment. You may also include the cost of your transportation to get to university/school. Any expenses that you have just to study can be included in that part. If you need further assistance on your youth allowance application, you may call Centrelink Phone Self Service on 136 240.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    ChloeJune 21, 2018

    With Youth Allowances, do you get a bonus before every semester to help with textbooks, stantionary and excursions ect. ?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJune 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Chloe,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      There is no bonus but you can claim Youth Allowance up to 13 weeks before you start your course or apprenticeship if you:

      • plan to study full time, or
      • are doing a full-time Australian Apprenticeship

      If you want to claim as independent because you’re turning 22, you can submit your claim up to 13 weeks before your birthday. If you claim early, you can be considered independent as soon as you turn 22.

      If you claim a dependent, your parents or guardians will need to provide their financial details to us. Read more about being dependent or independent for Youth Allowance.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    BecJune 14, 2018

    I’m on youth allowance, can uses help pay for my driving lessons? I’ve been told use can but not to sure?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiJune 15, 2018

      Hi Bec,

      Thanks for leaving a question on our page.

      Generally, you can use your Youth Allowance to pay for the important things you need i.e driving lessons. You can double check on this by asking the Dept. of Human Resource.

      Kindly know that we don’t stand as a representation to any company featured on our pages. We provide general advise/information on the products/services you inquire and we can’t give any further recommendation for you or provide quotes and prices beyond our limitation.

      Hope this clears things for you.


    Default Gravatar
    GraceJune 10, 2018

    I’m moving to Queensland to study my Bachelor of Science from WA. How do I know if I’m eligible for a student allowance

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJune 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Grace,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Finding out if you’re eligible for Youth Allowance as a student or an Australian Apprentice isn’t really complicated. To be eligible, you need to be:

      • between 18 and 24 years old (although in some instances 16 to 17 year olds are eligible)
      • studying full time in an approved course at an approved institution or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship, and
      • an Australian resident.

      They also look at your income to make sure you’re under the threshold. If you’re considered to be a dependant, they will need to look at your parent’s financial details as well. If you’re considered independent, your parent’s financial details won’t affect your eligibility however, they may look at your personal assets.

      I hope this helps. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Have a great day!


    Default Gravatar
    JenniferFebruary 14, 2018

    How much does someone have to earn and over what period of time to be assessed for independent Austudy? What is the difference between youth allowance and Austudy? Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanMarch 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for your inquiry.

      Youth allowance is financial help if you’re 24 or younger and studying, an Australian Apprentice, looking for work or sick.
      Austudy is financial help if you’re 25 or older and studying or an Australian Apprentice.

      Please refer to the link I have sent to your email for more information on the income test to receive Austudy.



    Default Gravatar
    PhilJune 10, 2017

    How can I apply for a scholarship?

      Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 10, 2017

      Hi Phil!

      Thanks for the comment.

      Please feel free to read about government assistance for students. This guide should give you more details about how you can get help as a student from the government.

      Hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    lindaJanuary 27, 2017

    What kind of bonus are available now for kids going back to school and if the mother only gats career payment

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeJanuary 31, 2017Staff

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your question.

      Currently, the Australian Department of Human Services is offering Education Entry Payment which is available to help with the cost of study if you get certain income support payments. Another is the Family Tax Benefit Part A for children who are studying, up to the end of the calendar year in which they turn 19. Please note that eligibility criteria apply.

      For more information about government educational assistance, please call the Department of Human Services on 132 468.


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