ABSTUDY

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Study Assistance Scheme (ABSTUDY) is an external initiative provided by the Australian Government. ABSTUDY is means-tested and can help with your living expenses, housing, travel and study costs.

In addition to basic entitlements students can apply for Additional Allowances. From flights, to living on campus at a Residential College (all expenses paid, inc meals); Master's students can even request ABSTUDY pay 100% of their student contributions (HECS) course fees for them.

Note: A student's eligibility will change over time therefore be sure to keep on top of your entitlements;

For Example: A student is considered 'independent' once they turn 22 years of age. If a student is 'independent', their parent's income and assets are no longer taken into consideration. Therefore, students who may not have previously qualified for ABSTUDY due to their parent's income may now qualify. This includes students who have reached 22 years of age and still live at home.

Please refer to ABSTUDY, the ABSTUDY Policy Manual and A guide to Australian Government payments for up to date entitlements and rates.

ABSTUDY Available:

  • Pre-Admission

    The pre-admission ABSTUDY Testing and Assessment Award is available to students who need to travel for tests, assessments or interviews before starting their studies. ABSTUDY can help you attend up to 2 tests or assessments each year.

    Eligibility

    • be undertaking a Testing and Assessment activity to determine the participants suitability for the Indigenous Youth Mobility Programme (IYMP); and/or
    • seeking to enrol in an approved tertiary (Undergraduate) course or a higher degree at the Masters or Doctorate (coursework or research) level, and is required to travel away from her/his normal place of residence to attend a selection test or an interview to determine suitability for, and acceptance into, the course, where such a test/interview is a normal requirement for admission to the course; and
    • be unable to be assessed from previous study; and
    • not be receiving or will not receive any other significant form of financial assistance for the test/interview.

    Conditions

    • only available if a student cannot be assessed on against previous study.
    • cannot be receiving other financial help for the test or interview.
    • applicants may be assisted to attend a maximum of two testing and assessment programs in a year.
    • limits on assistance for Masters or Doctorate students;
      • The Away from Base assistance available to both full-time and part-time Masters or Doctorate students, including Fares Allowance paid under the Away from Base activities travel provisions, is not to exceed a set threshold as defined in the ABSTUDY Policy in a calendar year.

    Benefits

    A student approved for a Testing and Assessment Award may be entitled to the following benefits:

    • Fares Allowance; and
    • Away from Base assistance.
  • Part-Time Students

    The ABSTUDY Part-Time Award is available to students studying any tertiary (university) & secondary course part-time.

    Eligibility

    • be studying a post-secondary course; and
    • not be studying a full-time workload;

    OR

    • be 18 years or older at 1 January in the year of study; and
    • be studying a secondary course; and
    • not be studying a full-time workload.

    Benefits

    A student approved for a Part-Time Award may be entitled to the following benefits:

    • Incidentals Allowance
    • Away from Base assistance - Actual Cost
      • Testing and assessment programs;
      • Placements;
      • Field trips;
      • Residential schools.
    • Fares Allowance to attend Away from Base activities - Actual Cost
  • Undergraduate Students

    The ABSTUDY - Tertiary Award is available to eligible full-time (or concessional study load) undergraduate students.

    The award is made up of two components; (1) Base Award + (2) Additional Allowances.

    Eligibility

    (1) Base Award
    • be studying a full-time post-secondary course; and
      • have reached the minimum school leaving age as defined by the relevant State/Territory education authority; or
      • have been granted exemption from the State/Territory education authority in order to attend another tertiary institution; and
    • be studying a full-time (including concessional) study-load and meet the ABSTUDY progress and duration of assistance rules.
    (2) Additional Allowances
    • meet the specific criteria for the particular allowance.
    • not be receiving, or will not receive, concurrent government assistance;
      • e.g. a student cannot qualify for a relocation scholarship if they are likely to receive an Indigenous Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship or an equivalent Commonwealth scholarship or grant in the same period.

    Benefits

    Eligible students will have access to a means-tested Living Allowance and a range of means-tested and non-means-tested benefits including;

    (1) Base Award
    • Living Allowance; OR
    • Pensioner Education Supplement; and
    • Incidentals Allowance
    • ___

      Residential College Cost Option

      Students may elect to take up the Residential Costs Option to reside at a residential college attached to an Australian education institution, or a hostel.

      • Residential costs are paid by ABSTUDY directly to the college or hostel, (inc accommodation fees, meals provided, laundry charges and other compulsory fees);
        • During periods for which residential fees are charged, students receive a reduced fortnightly rate of Living Allowance and Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) recipients forfeit PES payments; and
      • During periods for which residential fees are not charged, Living Allowance/PES payments return to the normal fortnightly amounts.
    (2) Additional Allowances
    • Relocation/Travel;
      • Relocation Scholarship; or
      • Fares Allowance - Actual cost
    • Away from Base assistance - Actual  Cost
      • Testing and assessment programs;
      • Placements;
      • Field trips;
      • Residential schools.
    • Additional Incidentals Allowance
    • Additional Assistance (available to those experiencing severe financial difficulties; intended to reduce the risk of students withdrawing from education.
    • Pharmaceutical Allowance (for those who are temporarily incapacitated);
    • Student Start-up Loan (repayable).
  • Masters Students

    Masters by coursework students may be eligible for the ABSTUDY Masters & Doctorate Award. Available to eligible full-time (or concessional study load) students, in addition to living allowances and residential college accommodation options students can apply for additional allowances including to have ABSTUDY pay for 100% of their student contributions (HECS) course fees.

    Note: Students are considered independent once they turn 22 years of age. If a student is independent, parental income tests no longer apply. Therefore, students who have previously not qualified for ABSTUDY due to their parents income may now qualify. This includes students who are 22 years of age or more and still live at home.

    The award is made up of two components; (1) Base Award + (2) Additional Allowances.

    Eligibility

    (1) Base Award
    • be any age;
    • enrolled on a full-time or concessional study-load basis in an approved Masters degree or Doctorate course; and
    • not be receiving, or will not receive, concurrent government assistance;
      • e.g. a student cannot be in receipt of both the ABSTUDY Masters and Doctorate Award and a scholarship under the Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP).
    (2) Additional Allowances
    • qualify for the ABSTUDY Masters and Doctorate Award; and be receiving either a:
      • Living Allowance; or
      • ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement; or
      • a Defence Force Income Support Allowance-like (DFISA-like) payment under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986; and
    • meet the specific criteria for the particular Masters and Doctorate Allowance.
    • not be receiving, or will not receive, concurrent government assistance;
      • e.g. a student cannot qualify for a relocation scholarship if they are likely to receive an Indigenous Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship or an equivalent Commonwealth scholarship or grant in the same period.

    Conditions

    • Postgraduate courses, such as the following, do not qualify for this Award:
      • Masters qualifying course;
      • Postgraduate Diploma, e.g. Diploma of Education; and
      • Postgraduate Bachelor Degree, e.g. Bachelor of Letters.

    Benefits

    Eligible students will have access to a means-tested Living Allowance and a range of means-tested and non-means-tested benefits including;

    (1) Base Award
    • Living Allowance; OR
    • Pensioner Education Supplement; and
    • Incidentals Allowance
    • ___

      Residential College Cost Option

      Students may elect to take up the Residential Costs Option to reside at a residential college attached to an Australian education institution, or a hostel.

      • Residential costs are paid by ABSTUDY directly to the college or hostel, (inc accommodation fees, meals provided, laundry charges and other compulsory fees);
        • During periods for which residential fees are charged, students receive a reduced fortnightly rate of Living Allowance and Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) recipients forfeit PES payments; and
      • During periods for which residential fees are not charged, Living Allowance/PES payments return to the normal fortnightly amounts.
    (2) Supplementary Allowances
    • Up to 100% payment of student fee contributions (previously known as HECS) or compulsory course fees
    • Relocation/Travel;
      • Relocation allowance
      • Relocation Scholarship; or
      • Fares Allowance - Actual cost
    • Thesis Allowance
    • Away from Base assistance
      • Testing and assessment programs;
      • Placements;
      • Field trips;
      • Residential schools.
    • Additional Incidentals Allowance
    • Additional Assistance (available to those experiencing severe financial difficulties; intended to reduce the risk of students withdrawing from education.
    • Student Start-up Loan (repayable).
    Claiming Payment of Course Fees

    Note: While claims for payment of student contributions (HECS Fees) should be lodged before the census date or the date set by the provider if earlier, it is possible to make late claims.

  • Research Students

    While the ABSTUDY Masters & Doctorate Award is available to coursework and research, masters and doctorate students; Graduate (Masters & Doctorate) research students are eligible for the Research Training Program scholarship and should consider which initiative best meets their needs.

  • + Other Info - Residential Costs Option

    ABSTUDY Policy Section 74: Residential Costs Option

    The Residential Costs Option allows students to live in a residential college and to have the cost paid directly by ABSTUDY, in addition to receiving a reduced amount of Living Allowance or nil rate of Pensioner Education Supplement (PES). For the periods residential fees are not charged, eligible students receive their full Living Allowance or PES entitlement.

    For the purpose of the Residential Costs Option, residential costs include:

    • accommodation fees; and
    • meals provided; and
    • laundry charges; and
    • other compulsory fees.

    Residential costs do not include bonds or other refundable fees.

    Conditions

    • ABSTUDY Residential Costs Option will not be payable for any period where a person has received (or will receive) Relocation Scholarship or an equivalent scholarship, unless an offer of a place in a residential college is received by the person after Relocation Scholarship has been paid.
  • + Other Info - Study-Load Concessions

    ABSTUDY Policy Section 48: Study-Load Concessions

    In certain circumstances, a Study-Load Concession can be approved so that a student can meet the study-load requirements for ABSTUDY when studying less than a full-time study-load.

    Two-thirds (66%) Concessional Study-Load

    A secondary non-school, tertiary, or Masters and Doctorate level student can be considered a concessional study-load student in the following circumstance:

    • enrolled in at least two-thirds (66%) of the normal full-time workload for that course; and
    • it is not possible to study 75% of the normal study-load because of one of the following:
      • the institution's normal requirements for the course; or
      • a specific direction in writing from the academic registrar or an equivalent officer; or
      • a recommendation in writing from the academic registrar or equivalent officer, for academic or vocational reasons. The institution does not have to specify the reasons on which the recommendation is based.
    • Study-load requirements cannot be reduced for academic or vocational reasons for more than one semester or half of the academic year.

    Disability (25%) Concessional Study-Load

    A primary or secondary school, secondary non-school, tertiary, or Masters and Doctorate level student may be considered a disability concessional study-load student if:

    • enrolled in at least 25% of the normal full-time study-load for that course; and
    • unable to study under normal study-load requirements because of substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability.

      This concession is intended to be used beneficially in circumstances where a student is incapable of, or would face additional educational barriers or disadvantage through studying under normal ABSTUDY study-load requirements because of substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability.

    25% Concessional Study-Load for the Purposes of ABSTUDY PES.

    A primary or secondary school, secondary non-school, tertiary, or Masters and Doctorate level student may be considered a concessional study-load student for the purposes of the ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) if:

    • enrolled in at least 25% of the normal full-time study-load for that course; and
    • is in receipt of one of the following income support payments as detailed below:
      • One of the following Centrelink benefits:
        • Parenting Payment (Single);
        • Disability Support Pension;
        • Carer Payment;
        • Special Benefit (as a sole parent, if s/he has a dependent child under 16 years of age);
        • Widow B Pension (if s/he has a dependent child under 16 years of age);
        • Widow Allowance (if s/he has a dependent child under 16 years of age); or
      • One of the following benefits from the Department of Veterans' Affairs:
        • Invalidity Service Pension;
        • Carer Service Pension;
        • Defence Widow/er Pension (if s/he has a dependent child under 16 years of age);
        • War Widow/er Pension (if s/he has a dependent child under 16 years of age).
    • A student who is qualifies for ABSTUDY PES, but whose circumstances are not listed above, may qualify for a two-thirds (66%) concessional study-load or a (25%) disability concessional study-load.

  • + Other Info - Other Ordinary Income - Scholarships

    ABSTUDY Policy Section 59.5 Other Ordinary Income - Scholarships

    :

    59.5.5 Scholarships in the nature of a reward or prize

    Scholarships that are paid as one-off sums in the nature of a reward or prize are not treated as income for the purposes of the ABSTUDY Partner and Personal Income Tests. These scholarships are defined by the following characteristics:

    • the payment of the lump sum is unlikely to be repeated; and
    • the scholarship/reward/prize could not reasonably have been expected to be received or necessarily anticipated; and
    • the payment of the lump sum does not represent receipt of money for services rendered directly or indirectly.

    :

    59.5.8 Merit or equity-based scholarship

    A merit or equity-based scholarship is a scholarship that is awarded to a student to:

    • recognise the student’s achievement in studying or in undertaking research at an educational institution; OR
    • enable the student to study or undertake research at an educational institution.

    Note: These do not include Indigenous Commonwealth Scholarships or Relocation Scholarship.

    A scholarship granted to a student for either of these purposes is treated as exempt income from 1 April 2010 for the extent that the payment does not exceed the person’s threshold in a calendar year. Any scholarship income in excess of this amount will be subject to means testing. The value of this threshold is indexed each year and is published in A guide to Australian Government payments.