Higher rates of ABSTUDY when living away from home

You may get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if you need to live away from home to study or to complete your Australian Apprenticeship.

Primary school students

You may get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if you are living away from home to repeat the final year of primary school so you can start secondary studies.

Secondary school students

If you are in secondary school and live away from home to study, you may get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if:

Tertiary students and secondary students not at a secondary school

If you are a tertiary student, or a secondary student not studying at a secondary school, and you live away from home to study, you may get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if:

  • travel time or access makes it hard to get from home to your place of study
  • home conditions make it hard to study, or
  • it is compulsory to live at your educational institution while you do tertiary studies

Australian Apprentices

If you live away from home to do your Australian Apprenticeship, you may get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if:

Independent students and apprentices

If you are a full time independent student or Australian Apprentice living away from your parents’ or guardians’ home to study or do your apprenticeship, you will get a higher rate of ABSTUDY.

If you are living in your parents’ home, you can get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if you are 21 years of age or younger and you:

  • are married, have been married or are in a registered relationship
  • have, or have had, a dependent child
  • are 16 years of age or older and have been living with your partner for at least 6 months
  • have the care or custody of another person’s dependent child, student or Australian Apprentice, or
  • are 16 years of age or older and live in an Aboriginal community after being adopted or fostered by a non-Aboriginal family for more than 2 years

Higher rate conditions

Travel time or access

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because daily travel from home to an appropriate educational institution or your workplace is impossible or unreasonable. This may apply if:

  • it takes more than 90 minutes to travel from home to the education institution or workplace - this includes reasonable walking and waiting time, or
  • blocked roads, flooding or unreliable transport make it hard to get from home to the education institution or workplace at least 20 days of the school year

It may also apply if you are a secondary school student and:

  • your home is at least 56 kilometres from a suitable school, or
  • your home is at least 4.5 kilometres from the nearest transport service and at least 16 kilometres from a suitable school

Local government school has a limited program or facilities

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because your local government secondary schools are listed as limited program schools by the state or territory education authority. Limited program schools:

  • do not offer a full range of years or grades, or
  • do not provide adequate facilities or programs for students to gain a Year 12 certificate or an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)

Approved special course

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because there is no government school within reasonable travel time or distance that provides an approved special course. A special course is:

  • study in drama, music, art, dance, sport or technology at a government school that has special school status in that subject area
  • a secondary course with an Indigenous studies subject that:
    • the state or territory education authority has formally accredited for examination purposes
    • the local state or territory Indigenous Advisory Group, or another formally recognised authority, has endorsed, and
    • you study at least 4 hours per week in the Indigenous studies subject
  • a secondary course with 2 agricultural subjects or sometimes 1 agricultural subject
  • a full time secondary course that gives you a specialist qualification, or
  • a secondary course that is an essential prerequisite for a specific tertiary course

The state or territory education authority must approve the special course at the government school and you need to be enrolled in the special course.

Disability, health condition or special education need

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because you have a disability or health related condition and you:

  • board at a special education institution
  • need special facilities or a special environment
  • cannot travel to school daily
  • need regular medical treatment that is unavailable near your home, or
  • need to live in a different climate

A disability or health related condition includes:

  • a physical or intellectual disability
  • a psychological, emotional or behavioural problem
  • a medical condition, or
  • pregnancy

Home conditions

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because conditions at home, or in the community, seriously affect your ability to study or do your apprenticeship, for example:

  • you consistently lack basic needs such as food, water, clothing, power, shelter or sleep
  • drug or alcohol abuse, criminal or illegal activities, or violence in the home seriously threaten your health and wellbeing, or
  • noise, overcrowding, chronic illness or lack of facilities prevent or disrupt your study at home

Parents move or are away a lot because of work

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home to study because both your parents:

  • move a lot because of work
  • need to be away from home for at least 40 week nights during the school year because of work, or
  • do not normally live in a fixed place during the school week because their work involves frequent, lengthy travel for example, they are interstate truck drivers

Scholarship to an independent boarding school

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because an independent boarding school offered you a scholarship and:

  • it is an approved school and course of secondary studies
  • boarding is an integral part of the school
  • the school has a Socio Economic Status (SES) funding score for Commonwealth General Recurrent Grants of 100 or more
  • the scholarship covers at least 15% of the total board and tuition fees, and
  • the local Indigenous Consultative Body, or their nominee, are involved in setting up the scholarship and provide ongoing guidance, where required

Read more about the SES funding score on the Department of Education and Training website. We can tell you if your school and course are approved if you are not sure.

Scholarship to a Highly Effective or High Expectations School

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because you have been offered a scholarship and:

  • it is an approved school and course of secondary studies, and
  • the Australian Government supports the scholarship - this includes:
    • Indigenous Youth Leadership Program or equivalent scholarships funded under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, including:
      • Madalah SOAR Scholarship
      • Presbyterian Ladies’ College Indigenous Scholarship Program - Peppermint Grove, Western Australia
      • MADEC Indigenous Young People’s Program
      • Yalari Education Pathways Program
    • Cape York Institute's Academic Leaders - Secondary
    • Higher Expectations Program - Northern Territory
    • Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarship
    • Sporting Chance Program or equivalent projects funded under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, including at former Sporting Chance Academies
    • Kajji Foundation Scholarship
    • Australian Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarship Program
    • Woomera Educational Scholarship Trust
    • Kimberley Education Excellence Program
    • Northern Territory Government Indigenous Education Excellence Scholarship
    • Ngurra Jirama Foundation Scholarship

We can tell you if your school and course are approved if you are not sure.

Proof to support your claim

You may need to provide documents to support the reason you need to live away from home to study or do your apprenticeship.

Situation Documents
Primary school student needing to repeat final year of primary school Letter from the school advising you need to repeat the final year of primary school
It takes more than 90 minutes to travel from home to your place of study or work Written statement of the travel time by public transport, including waiting and walking time
Road or weather conditions make it hard to get from home to your place of study or work Letter from your local council describing:
  • the conditions, and
  • number of times in the last year travel between your home and place of study or work was affected
Secondary school student whose home is at least 56 kilometres from a suitable school Written statement of the kilometres between your home and the school
Secondary school student whose home is at least 4.5 kilometres from the nearest transport service and at least 16 kilometres from a suitable school Written statement of the kilometres between your home and the:
  • transport service, and
  • school
Local government school has a limited program or facilities If it is not on our list of schools with limited programs or facilities, a letter from the local education authority confirming the school cannot provide the right level of schooling
Special course in drama, art, music, sport, technology, Indigenous studies or agriculture If it is not on our list of schools that offer special courses, a letter from the state or territory education authority confirming the:
  • school meets the special course requirements, and
  • course is not available at government schools in your area
Special course that gives you a specialist qualification Letter from the state or territory education authority confirming:
  • it is a specialist course not generally available at secondary schools, and
  • the completion certificate is a formal qualification
Special course that is an essential prerequisite for a tertiary course Provide:
  • details of the tertiary course, and
  • a letter from the school confirming you have potential to gain entry into the tertiary course and are enrolled in the prerequisite subjects
Cannot travel to school daily due to disability or a health condition Letter from a medical authority stating:
  • the nature of your disability, and
  • that you could not live at home and travel to school daily
Need regular medical treatment Provide a:
  • written statement giving full details of travel required for treatment if you were living at home, and
  • letter from a medical authority at the treatment centre confirming the need for regular medical treatment
Need to live in a different climate Letter from a medical authority stating:
  • your medical condition and how the local environment affects it, and
  • that the area you have chosen to attend school is less likely to cause your medical condition to arise
Excluded from all local government schools Letter from the local education authority confirming you have been excluded from all local government schools
Racial discrimination at all local government schools Written statements that discrimination disrupted your study and the problem could not be resolved from:
  • your parent or guardian
  • all government schools where you faced racial discrimination, and
  • an Indigenous education organisation or an incorporated Indigenous organisation
Home conditions make it hard to study Written statement from an independent authority with firsthand knowledge of your situation
Parents move a lot because of work Written statement of:
  • dates and locations the family has moved in the last 12 months, and
  • expected dates and locations of moves in the next 12 months
Parents are away a lot because of work Written statement of:
  • the type of work, and
  • the periods they are away from home
Independent boarding school scholarship Letter from the school confirming:
  • you were awarded the scholarship
  • an Indigenous education body has been involved, and
  • the percentage the scholarship will contribute to your tuition and boarding fees
Scholarship to a Highly Effective or High Expectation school Letter from the school confirming:
  • which scholarship or program you have been granted, and
  • the percentage the scholarship will contribute to your tuition and boarding fees
Compulsory to live at your education institution Letter from the education institution confirming:
  • it is compulsory to live on campus, and
  • the dates you need to live on campus

Other benefits

If you are approved to live away from home, we have other payments and benefits, like:

Page last updated: 10 November 2016

This information was printed Saturday 10 December 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/higher-rates-abstudy-when-living-away-home 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.