Study loads for Austudy and Youth Allowance

You need to meet, and keep on meeting, study load requirements to get Austudy or Youth Allowance.

If your study load changes, you need to tell us within 14 days to avoid a debt. Use your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to update your study details. Read our guide to updating your study details using your Centrelink online account.

Full time study

In most cases, you need to study full time to get Austudy or Youth Allowance. You can check with your education institution if your study load is full time.

Secondary students – examples

You’re full time if:

  • your secondary school considers your course full time
  • you do at least 75% of the full time study load at an institution other than a secondary school

Tertiary students – examples

If you're in a Commonwealth supported course, we work out your study load using your enrolment. You’re full time if you:

  • do at least 75% of the equivalent full time study load (EFTSL), over a year, where the normal period of enrolment is a year or similar period, or
  • enrol on a semester or trimester basis and do an EFTSL of at least 75% for that period - for example, 0.375 each semester or 0.25 each trimester

If you’re in a fee paying course, you’re full time if:

  • your institution considers your course full time, and
  • you do at least 75% of the full time study load, or
  • you do at least 75% of the average amount of study needed to complete the course in the minimum time, or
  • your institution hasn’t defined a full time study load and you have at least 15 hours face to face study a week - this may include lectures and formal meetings with course supervisors

Each institution measures study loads differently. You need to check your institution's website or handbook to find what they consider a full time study load.

Allowable time

We can’t pay you to study indefinitely. We can only pay you the allowable time for your course. If you only study 75% of the full time study load, you may run out of allowable time. Read more about allowable time for studying while getting Youth Allowance or allowable time while getting Austudy.

Reducing study loads

You may still get Austudy or Youth Allowance if you need to reduce your study load.

You may reduce it to no less than 66% of the full time study load because of:

  • course needs, such as:
    • timetable clashes
    • failing prerequisite subjects
    • cancelled subjects
    • no unit vacancies
    • you need to reduce your load to complete the course
  • academic or vocational reasons decided by your education institution

You need to give us a letter outlining 1 of the reasons above from your deputy principal, academic registrar or equivalent so we can reassess your eligibility.

If you reduce your study load due to academic or vocational reasons decided by your institution, it can only apply to your student payment for half of the academic year.

Austudy students with disability

If you have a substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability and can’t study full time or in the minimum time, you may still get Austudy. You need to do at least 25% of the full time study load for the course.

Youth Allowance if you’re sick or have an injury

If you’re sick or have an injury and temporarily can’t study full time, you may still get Youth Allowance as a student. You need to give us medical proof showing you’ll return to full time study when better.

Part time study

Part time study is a study load of less than 75% of a full time study load. Your study load may become part time if you drop 1 or more subjects. Tell us about any changes to your enrolment because it may affect your payment.

If you’re studying part time and are younger than 22 years of age, you may be eligible for Youth Allowance as a job seeker. You need to have a Job Plan and do activities to make up a full time study load.

Page last updated: 7 December 2016

This information was printed Friday 9 December 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/study-loads-austudy-and-youth-allowance 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.