ABSTUDY Residential Costs Option

An option for students to help pay residential costs while living away from home to study.

What the Residential Costs Option is

The ABSTUDY Residential Costs Option can help eligible students manage the costs of living away from home to study.

If you're eligible and choose this option, we’ll pay your educational institution or hostel directly for certain costs.

Costs that can be covered include:

  • accommodation
  • meals, if provided
  • laundry charges, and
  • other compulsory fees

Rental bonds or other types of refundable fees can't be claimed

While we’re paying your residential costs, we’ll reduce your ABSTUDY Living Allowance or not pay your ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement.

When there are no residential costs, like during study breaks, you’ll get your payment as you normally would.

Who can access it

You may be able to access the Residential Costs Option if you’re a:

  • tertiary student, or
  • secondary student doing approved study at a university

You must also:

You can’t choose this option if you:

  • get the Relocation Scholarship – unless you're offered a place in a residential college after the scholarship was paid, or
  • get a Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship, like an Indigenous Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship, Indigenous Student Success Programme, or other equivalent scholarship – unless you’re offered a place in a residential college after the scholarship was paid, or
  • are an Australian Apprentice

Read more about Commonwealth Scholarships on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

Example 1 - living on campus

John got a Relocation Scholarship on 21 February 2017. On 20 March 2017, the residential college offered him accommodation on campus. He accepted it and moved into the college on 25 March 2017.

John can choose the Residential Costs Option as he was offered a place at the college after he got the Relocation Scholarship.

Example 2 - declining residential college

Sita was offered accommodation at a residential college on 20 January 2017, but she declined. She got Indigenous Student Success Programme funding in February 2017. On 20 March 2017, she decided to move into the college.

Sita can’t choose the Residential Costs Option as she was offered a place at the college before she got Indigenous Student Success Programme funding.

What to consider

Before applying for the Residential Costs Option, you should compare your options.

Example

Luke is 18 and approved to live away from home. He's in his first year of university and will live on campus for 36 weeks of the year. He'll live off campus for 16 weeks. His ABSTUDY Living Allowance is $300 per fortnight. Luke can also get Rent Assistance when he's living on campus. His residential costs are $280 per week.

Choice 1 – Luke applies for the Residential Costs Option

While Luke is living on campus for 36 weeks, his ABSTUDY Living Allowance will be reduced to $41.60 per fortnight. For the other 16 weeks, Luke will get his full ABSTUDY Living Allowance rate of $300 but won't get Rent Assistance.

Payment Rate Yearly total
Living Allowance for 36 weeks on campus $41.60 x 18 fortnights $748.80
Living Allowance for 16 weeks off campus $300 x 8 fortnights $2,400.00
Residential Fees $280 x 36 weeks $10,080.00
  Total $13,228.80

Choice 2 – Luke does not apply for the Residential Costs Option

Luke will get ABSTUDY Living Allowance all year and Rent Assistance while he's living on campus for 36 weeks. He'll also get Relocation Scholarship for moving to study.

Payment Rate Yearly total
Living Allowance $300 x 26 fortnights $7,800.00
Rent Assistance $133 x 18 fortnights $2,394
Relocation Scholarship $4,376 x 1 $4,376
  Total $14,570

In Luke’s first year of study, his yearly total is higher if he doesn’t choose the Residential Costs Option.

But, in his next years of study the Residential Costs Option may be the best option as his rate of Relocation Scholarship will decrease.

How to apply

You must call the ABSTUDY line to apply for the Residential Costs option.

You’ll also need to give us your residential costs bill from your college or hostel each term or semester. You can submit the bill:

  • online
  • in person at a service centre
  • by post to:
    Department of Human Services
    Student Services
    Reply Paid 7804
    Canberra BC ACT 2610

Page last updated: 17 November 2017