Study loads for Austudy and Youth Allowance

You need to maintain study load requirements to receive 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.

Find out how to update your study details using myGov.

Full time study for Austudy and Youth Allowance

In most cases, you need to be studying full time to receive Austudy or Youth Allowance. To confirm whether your study load is full time, check with your educational institution first.

Secondary students – examples of study loads considered full time

If you are a secondary student, you are considered to be full time if:

  • your secondary school considers your course to be full time
  • you are enrolled in and studying at least 75% of the normal full time load at an institution other than a secondary school

Tertiary students – examples of study loads considered full time

If you are a tertiary student in a Commonwealth supported course, your study load is calculated according to your enrolment. You are considered to be full time if you are:

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

If you are a tertiary student in a fee paying course, you are considered to be full time if:

  • your tertiary institution considers your course to be full time, and
  • you are doing at least 75% of the full time load, or
  • you are doing at least 75% of the average amount of study required to complete the course in the minimum time, or
  • your institution has not defined a full time workload and you have at least 15 hours face to face study a week - this may include both lectures and formal consultations with course supervisors

Remember, we cannot pay you to study indefinitely. If you only study for the minimum amount each semester, which is 75% of the full time load, you may run out of allowable time. Read more about allowable time for studying while receiving Youth Allowance or allowable time while receiving Austudy.

Distance education

You may be a distance education student if you study through a university, TAFE, private provider or secondary school, but do not study on campus. Read more about distance and online education for tertiary and secondary students.

Reduced study load for Austudy and Youth Allowance students

In some circumstances you may be able to receive Austudy or Youth Allowance where your study is reduced to below 75% of the normal amount of full time study for your course.

You may be considered a full time student when you have a reduced study load of no less than 66% of the normal full time study load because of:

  • course requirements such as timetable clashes, subject prerequisites not being satisfied due to failure, subject is cancelled or lack of unit vacancies, or reduced load needed to complete the course, or
  • academic or vocational reasons as determined by your educational institution

You will need to provide a letter to us outlining one of the reasons above from your deputy principal, academic registrar or equivalent to allow us to reassess your eligibility.

If your study load is reduced due to academic or vocational reasons determined by your institution, it can only be applied to your student payment for half of the academic year.

Reduced study load for Austudy students with disability

If you have a substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability and cannot study full time or in the minimum time allowed, you may still be able to get Austudy. You will need to be doing at least 25% of the normal full time load for the course.

This includes studying a course offered on a part time basis where the study load is at least 25% or more of a similar full time course.

Receiving Youth Allowance if you are sick or injured

If you are sick or injured and temporarily cannot study full time, you may continue to receive Youth Allowance as a student. You will need to provide medical evidence that indicates you are temporarily incapacitated and you be will returning to full time study when you are 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. You need to tell us about any changes to your enrolment because your payment may be affected.

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

Page last updated: 23 March 2016

This information was printed Thursday 29 September 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.