- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
- enrolled in an approved course or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship
- not receiving any other government assistance to study or do an apprenticeship or traineeship
VET FEE-HELP reforms
There are reforms to the VET FEE HELP scheme.
Eligibility and payment rates
Eligibility for ABSTUDY
To be eligible for ABSTUDY you must be:
- an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian
- able to meet residence requirements
- enrolled in an approved course or undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, and
- not receiving any other government assistance to study or complete your apprenticeship
What ABSTUDY covers
If you are studying at a secondary school or college, TAFE (a technical and further education college), university or other approved tertiary institution, or in a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, ABSTUDY can help with your costs for:
- fares to travel to your place of study each term or semester if you need to study away from home
- prescription medicine
If you qualify for ABSTUDY, you may be entitled to other payments and benefits too.
Payment rates for ABSTUDY
The amount of ABSTUDY you get depends on your circumstances, such as your study load, what course you are studying and your age.
Higher rates of ABSTUDY when living away from home
Students living away from home may receive a higher rate of ABSTUDY.
Independence test for ABSTUDY
If you apply for ABSTUDY, you will be assessed as being either dependent or independent.
Income and assets test for ABSTUDY
Income and assets tests may be used to work out how much ABSTUDY you get paid.
Residence requirements for ABSTUDY
To be eligible for ABSTUDY you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be:
- living in Australia, and
- hold Australian citizenship
Students applying for ABSTUDY
If you are a student applying for ABSTUDY you must be:
- enrolled in an approved course of study, or
- undertaking an approved testing and assessment activity that will determine your suitability:
- to undertake an approved course, or
- for the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program
Approved education providers include:
- government schools, including those offering distance education or correspondence courses
- non-government education institutions offering primary, ungraded, secondary, or special courses accredited by the relevant state or territory education authority
- senior secondary colleges
- TAFE institutions
- higher education institution
- correctional services authorities providing secondary or tertiary level Indigenous special courses for students in lawful custody
Approved courses may be studied by:
- attendance at classes
- distance education or correspondence
- external studies
- open learning
- flexible delivery, or
- a combination of the above
Australian Apprentices applying for ABSTUDY
An Australian Apprentice will need a current Commonwealth Registration Number that relates to a full-time apprenticeship, traineeship, or trainee apprenticeship under the Australian Apprenticeships Scheme.
ABSTUDY Residential Costs Option
Payment to help students with the costs of living away from home to study.
Distance and online education for tertiary and secondary students
If you are a distance education student you need to be studying an approved course at an approved institution.
Check if you are eligible for this payment before you claim.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim
- read the conditions for claiming
- decide how you will submit your claim
- complete your claim forms
- complete your supporting forms
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Annual parental means test reassessment
Each year in September parents or guardians of dependent Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY Living Allowance customers need to provide their income and asset details.
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
Change of circumstances while receiving ABSTUDY
If you do not tell us when your circumstances changed you may be doing the wrong thing.
For example, not telling us if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes
Doing the right thing is easy:
- tell us about changes to your circumstances as soon as possible
- regularly check that your information is up to date through your myGov account
It is never too late to report a change. By telling us about any changes today, we can help make sure you receive the correct payment.
If you have received payments you are not eligible for, you may have to repay the amount plus a recovery fee. Having to repay a debt may be difficult but choosing not to tell us when your circumstances change could lead to far more serious consequences.
If you deliberately do not tell us when your circumstances change, you could be committing fraud. Read more about how to avoid committing fraud.
Advance payment options
You may be eligible to receive part of your Centrelink payment in advance. Accessing an advance payment depends on the type of payment you receive, how long you have been receiving it and the amount that you receive.
ABSTUDY while travelling outside Australia
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for ABSTUDY.
Weekly payment option
You can receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly, in certain circumstances.
What to do if your account is overdrawn
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
Managing your money
Getting control of your money can be hard, but we’ve got some great advice and tools to help. Read more about budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt, to help manage your money.