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Government allowances for students

In addition to scholarships, eligible students can access a number of government allowances during their studies.

In this section we explore:

  • Youth Allowance
  • Austudy
  • ABSTUDY
  • Rent Assistance
  • Government assistance for trade students

Government allowance eligibility can be a little tricky to navigate, so be sure to book an appointment at your local Centrelink office to sort through your options. If you’re attending O-Week activities at the beginning of the year, keep an eye out for representatives from the Department of Human Services, who are on hand to speak to students about the types of financial assistance on offer.

Youth Allowance

This allowance is designed to provide financial help to young people to study or train in an occupation.

To be eligible for Youth Allowance, you must be:

  • 16 to 21 years old and looking for full-time work or undertaking approved activities; or
  • 18 to 24 years old and studying full time; or
  • 16 to 24 years old and undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship.

When you apply for Youth Allowance, you will be assessed as either dependent or independent. Payment rates depend on your circumstances (such as whether you are living at home or have dependants). For more information, including details of payment rates, see the Department of Human Services website. 

Austudy

This allowance is available to full-time students and Australian Apprentices who are aged 25 years or over. Payment rates depend on individual circumstances, such as whether you are single or partnered with children, and special rates apply if you are long-term unemployed. A personal income test applies, which may result in a decrease to your payment. For more information, including details of payment rates, see the Department of Human Services website. 

ABSTUDY

This allowance is available to Indigenous students and apprentices to assist with education, accommodation, living, transport and prescription medicine costs. To receive ABSTUDY, you must be enrolled in an approved course and not be receiving any other government assistance to complete your qualification. The payment rate you receive depends on several factors, including whether you are considered independent or dependent on your parents or guardians, whether you are studying full time or part time, your personal income and your age. For more information, including details of payment rates, see the Department of Human Services website.

Rent Assistance

Tertiary students who are receiving any of the above allowances and are paying rent or board while studying may also be able to receive rent assistance. You do not need to make a separate claim; you will automatically be assessed on whether you are eligible to receive Rent Assistance payments. The amount you receive depends on the type and amount of rent you pay and your living arrangements (whether you share accommodation with others, for example). See the Department of Human Services website for details.

Government assistance for trade students

There are a number of financial incentives and assistance options specifically designed for students undertaking a trade. The Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA) provides assistance to Australian Apprentices in their first three years of training if they need to live away from home. Apprentices may also be eligible for Trade Support Loans , which assist apprentices with everyday costs while they complete their apprenticeship. Trade Support Loans were introduced in 2014 and replaced the former Tools For Your Trade payments. The loans work in the same way as HELP loans, with payments deferred until the student is earning above the minimum repayment threshold ($54,869 in 2016–17). Through the scheme, students can borrow up to $20,000, paid in installments over four years. Adult apprentices (aged 25 years or older) may be eligible for the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices payment. For more information about financial assistance options for apprentices, see the Australian Apprenticeships website.

In this section we cover: