ABSTUDY fares information
This information is for education institutions, boarding schools and hostels that have ABSTUDY secondary school students who live away from their home to study.
Fares Allowance for ABSTUDY Secondary School Students
ABSTUDY Fares Allowance covers the cost of travel for secondary school students who need to live away from home to attend study.
When can ABSTUDY Fares Allowance be used?
Students may be eligible for ABSTUDY Fares Allowance under one or more of the following types of travel:
Start and end of studies
Assistance is available for students to travel to their school when they start studying, and when they return home at the end of the study year.
School vacation travel
School vacation travel allows secondary school students to return home during school vacations and return to their study address in the following term.
School vacation travel is not available for the Easter break, unless Easter falls over the applicable state or territory school vacation period. It is not available for long weekends or periods when boarding houses close. Students and families are required to make their own accommodation arrangements for these periods.
Orientation/special purpose visit travel
Orientation/special purpose visit travel helps with the entry, orientation or adjustment of a secondary school student at the term address or boarding school. Assistance is available if the student:
- needs to attend an interview before being accepted into a boarding school
- is going away to board for the first time and is from a remote community
- is at risk of being expelled because they haven’t adjusted at the school and a visit from their parent/guardian or another person will help stabilise the situation.
Compassionate travel helps secondary school students travel back to their permanent home for compassionate reasons such as:
- critical illness or injury of an immediate family member
- illness or injury of the student
- death or funeral of an extended family member
- to participate in an Indigenous community activity (special criteria must be met).
Evidence will need to be supplied to Centrelink prior to compassionate travel being approved. A maximum of two return trips per student per year can be approved for compassionate reasons. This includes any instances where a family member has visited the student under compassionate travel provisions.
Organising travel through Centrelink
A representative from an education institution, boarding school or hostel can call the ABSTUDY line on Freecall™ 1800 132 317 to organise travel. Travel requests must be lodged with Centrelink at least six weeks prior to the travel date to ensure Centrelink’s Travel Management Company has adequate time to secure travel arrangements for all ABSTUDY secondary school students travelling within Australia.
Centrelink’s Travel Management Company organises all travel arrangements for ABSTUDY travellers. When travel arrangements have been confirmed, a copy of the travel itinerary will be supplied to the school.
Changing travel organised by Centrelink
Centrelink will not approve changes to booked travel unless special reasons exist.
It is important students travel on the date organised by Centrelink to avoid travel penalties. If a student cannot travel due to special circumstances then contact us immediately on Freecall™ 1800 132 317. We require a minimum of 24 hours notice to cancel travel arrangements.
Reimbursement of fares paid by family, school or a third party
If you pay for the journey of an ABSTUDY secondary school student who qualifies for ABSTUDY Fares Allowance, we will reimburse the cost of this journey. The amount will be determined based on the cost of the journey if Centrelink had made the booking or the actual cost of the journey, whichever is less.
To claim reimbursement of travel costs, complete and lodge an ABSTUDY Fares Allowance Claim at your nearest Centrelink Service Centre. Evidence such as tickets, dockets or receipts must be supplied with the claim.
ABSTUDY Fares Allowance Claims must be lodged before 1 April in the year following the year of study.
Supervisor travel for young students
ABSTUDY secondary school students under 18 years old are encouraged to travel with a supervisor on trips that have more than one mode of travel (e.g. charter flight and then a commercial flight).
A supervisor can be a parent/guardian, a person from the student’s community or a representative from the receiving school or hostel.
Supervisor travel covers the cost of the supervisor’s journey, including accommodation and meals. Centrelink has no provision to cover the cost of wages during any period of supervision of an ABSTUDY student.
Interstate travel restrictions apply for secondary school students.
Centrelink will only approve travel from the student’s study location to their permanent home, and return to the education institution, boarding school or hostel. Travel to other locations will not be approved.
Weekend travel will not be authorised by Centrelink, unless exceptional circumstances exist or a supervisor is travelling with the student. Centrelink cannot support students who experience disrupted travel journeys when travelling on weekends.
Penalties for missed travel
Travel penalties exist for students who miss travel booked in advance by Centrelink.
If a school student misses travel booked by us for the first time in a calendar year then no travel penalty will be applied. We can re-book the travel arrangements.
If a student misses travel booked by us for the second time in a calendar year, travel for that journey will not be re-booked or paid for in advance by us. The student’s parent/guardian will be required to book and pay for travel arrangements for that student and, if eligible, seek reimbursement from us. An overpayment of ABSTUDY Fares Allowance may also be raised against the parent/guardian or student if the travel provider has charged an amount to us.
It is important that students travel on the date organised by us. Schools should ensure students are fully aware of their travel arrangements and that missed travel can have serious consequences for them and their family. Arranging a supervisor to travel with a student reduces the risk of the student missing their booked travel.
For further information, please call the ABSTUDY line on Freecall™ 1800 132 317 or visit your Centrelink Service Centre. You can also visit the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website.