Helps with travel costs between your home and place of study if you get ABSTUDY and need to live away from home.
Eligibility & payment rates
Who can get it
You can get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance if you’re:
- getting ABSTUDY or ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement, and you’re a full time:
- secondary student
- tertiary student, or
- master’s or doctorate student who doesn’t get Relocation Allowance
You must also be:
- dependent and getting the higher rate of ABSTUDY when living away from home, or
- independent and living away from home to study because of travel time or access
Sometimes, someone other than you can get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance to travel.
Who can’t get it
You can’t get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance if you’re:
- an Australian Apprentice or trainee
- getting ABSTUDY as a student, but don’t meet the criteria above
How it works
ABSTUDY Fares Allowance helps with the cost of approved travel.
We work out if you can get it based on your type of travel.
There are restrictions that mean you can’t get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance for certain travel.
When you should tell us about your travel
You can tell us about your travel and claim before or after your trip.
If you claim before your trip, you need to either call:
- the ABSTUDY students line
- your boarding school, if that’s where you go, or
- your hostel, if that’s where you stay
We’ll then book the travel for you.
If you claim after your trip, you’ll need to pay for and book the travel and then apply for reimbursement.
Reimbursement means, you pay upfront and then we pay you back.
What cost it covers
The allowance covers the most reasonable costs of travel.
It may not cover the entire cost of your travel. For example, if you take a plane when a train would’ve been the most reasonable trip, we’ll only reimburse you for the cost of the train trip.
Sometimes, it may also pay for additional travel costs during your trip.
Read about the payment rate.
You can claim ABSTUDY Fares Allowance before or after your trip. If you claim before, we’ll book the travel for you. Otherwise, claim after you travel and we’ll pay you back.
Managing your payment
Changing travel we've arranged
We won’t approve changes to booked travel unless there’s good reason.
Accepted reasons include:
- being sick or hurt
- having an immediate family member die
- needing to go to the funeral of an immediate family member
- needing to join in a significant cultural event
- needing to change travel address details because your parents or guardian have recently moved
- taking part in a previously unplanned extracurricular activity such as a sport or religious event
You need to prove your situation before we can change your travel.
We won’t accept the following reasons:
- choosing to attend a festival, show or social event
- wanting to travel with a friend
- going to a sporting event when you knew the date of the event before we booked travel
You need to travel on the trip we book. If you don’t, you may have to pay extra costs and penalties. If you can’t travel because of exceptional circumstances, call:
- the ABSTUDY students line immediately, or
- if you go to a boarding school or stay at a hostel, call them directly
You need tell us at least 24 hours before your booked travel if you need to change or cancel it.
Penalties for missed travel
There are penalties for students and non-student travellers who miss travel we’ve booked, unless there’s good reason.
Secondary school students
If you miss travel once in a calendar year, there’s no penalty and we can rebook the travel.
If you miss travel again, we won’t rebook or pay for the same trip in advance. Your parent, guardian or school will need to book and pay for your travel and, if eligible, apply for reimbursement. You may need to pay us back for the trip you missed.
Tertiary students, secondary students not at a secondary school and non-student travellers
If you miss travel, we won’t rebook or pay for the same trip in advance. You’ll need to book and pay for your own travel and, if eligible, apply for reimbursement. You may need to pay us back for the trip you missed.
You need to understand your responsibilities when getting ABSTUDY Fares Allowance. If you don’t travel on the trip we’ve booked, you may get a penalty. Call the ABSTUDY students line if you have any questions.
When travelling you must:
- have your itinerary with you at all times
- have photo identification that matches the name on your ticket
- bring any medications you need
- have a contact number for your school, including an after hours contact number
- dress appropriately for travel carrier’s rules. For example, you must wear shoes
- make sure your baggage meets the allowances of all travel carriers - charter flights may have smaller weight and size allowances
- follow the travel carrier’s rules at the transport terminal, including getting there early
- follow the directions of your supervisor
- behave appropriately in line with school standards and expectations
- travel at the time booked, unless we have approved changes
- not stop travelling during your trip unless there are special circumstances we’ve approved
- stay at the transport terminal when waiting for a connecting trip
- if you’re a secondary student, report any travel changes or delays immediately to your school, and
- if you’re a secondary school student not at a secondary school or a tertiary student, tell us of any cancellations, changes or significant delays - for example, an overnight delay
Parent or guardian responsibilities
Parents or guardians must:
- contact your child’s boarding school or hostel:
- at least 6 weeks before your child needs to travel, or
- as soon as possible if they’re travelling for compassionate reasons
- tell the boarding school or hostel if your child is travelling there for the first time or needs a supervisor to go with them
- not tell family or friends to collect your child mid trip between home and the school - your child could miss travel booked for them and it could lead to you owing money
- check if you need to take your child to their travel arrangements and collect your child when they return, and
- call your child’s school as soon as possible if you’re not sure about travel arrangements for your child
You should also make sure:
- your child knows their responsibilities as a traveller
- your child only packs clothes and personal items they need - if they need extra baggage or you’re unsure of the baggage limit, discuss this with the boarding school or hostel
- you and your child know the travel arrangements and have the itinerary
- your child has photo identification that matches the name on their ticket
- your child follows the travel carrier’s rules at the transport terminal, including getting there early
- your child understands they shouldn’t leave the transport terminal for any reason - this is very dangerous and we may contact police to find and return them to their travel arrangements, and
- we and your child’s school have your contact details
Information for boarding schools and hostels
If you're a boarding school or hostel, you should read about ABSTUDY fares allowance for boarding schools and hostels.
Manage your money
We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.
Read about how to manage your money.