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Allowable time for Austudy

Allowable time is how long you can get Austudy while you’re studying.

What allowable time means

You can only get Austudy for a set amount of time. We call this allowable time.

Full time tertiary students

If you’re a full time student you must make satisfactory progress in your course to keep your payment. This means completing your course within a set period of time.

Your allowable time

The normal length of the course is The allowable time is
1 year or less the minimum time it takes to finish the course
more than 1 year - and at least 1 subject takes a year the minimum time for that course plus 1 year
more than 1 year - and all subjects take 1 semester the minimum time for that course plus half a year


Your full time degree takes 3 years at 100% study load. This is your first time studying a degree.

You’ve been doing 100% study load, except the third year where you’ve been doing 75%. This means you’re full time and you can get Austudy.

You won’t finish your course in 3 years because you’re doing less than 100% study load in the third year. You need 1 more semester to finish your course.

You’ll get Austudy for the extra semester. This is because the course is longer than 1 year.

Previous study

If you’ve done a tertiary course before at the same level as the course you’re doing now, we count this in your allowable time.

There are some reasons why it might not count towards your allowable time. Read about extensions and exceptions.

If you’ve studied part time in the past, the time you spent as a part time student will count in your allowable time.

Honours students

If you’re an honours student you’ll have an extra year on top of the minimum time to finish your course.

Secondary students

If you’ve failed a course, the time you spent studying before may count in your allowable time. It depends which year you’re in.

If you’re in year 11 or below

Your earlier attempts to do the course don’t count in your allowable time.

If you’re in year 12

You can have up to 2 attempts to complete year 12. If you need to try it a third time we might not pay you for this. Read about extensions and exceptions.

Students doing self-paced courses

With self-paced courses the education institution may not tell you how long the course should take. However, you’ll still only get Austudy for an allowable period of time.

Your allowable time is the same as it would be if you’re attending in a standard way like face to face.

Students with disability

If you have a substantial disability, you may reduce your study load to 25% of the full time amount and still keep your payment.

You need to give us proof from a medical practitioner who specialises in the area of your disability. This must be in writing and show you’re unable to study full time.

If you do this, you’ll have more allowable time. The extra allowable time depends on how long you’re studying part time.

Extensions and exceptions

Previous year 12 study

If you’ve failed year 12, your past attempt won’t count in your allowable time if you:

  • failed because of reasons beyond your control
  • failed because English isn’t your first language
  • stopped studying less than 6 months after the start of the academic year
  • previously tried to complete the course more than 10 years ago

Previous tertiary study

The time you spent studying another tertiary course won’t count in your allowable time if:

  • you failed part of the course because of reasons beyond your control
  • the education institution stopped offering the course
  • you were studying an unapproved course
  • you needed to pass that course before you could enrol in the course you’re doing now
  • it was a TAFE course and its normal length was 1 year or less
  • you did the course more than 10 years ago
  • you withdrew from the course and the provider didn’t record it as a failure

Reasons beyond your control

The reason why you couldn’t finish your course in the allowable time might have been beyond your control. Examples are:

  • illness
  • family trauma
  • natural disaster
  • having to relocate – you might have had to repeat part of a course or start again
  • needing to care for someone in your family

If you had this kind of reason we may extend your allowable time. To discuss it, call the students line.

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Page last updated: 8 June 2017

This information was printed Tuesday 22 August 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/allowable-time-while-receiving-austudy It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.