Award types

There are 7 ABSTUDY awards that help us work out which payments you can get.

Your eligibility for an award will depend on your study, training and personal circumstances.

You should only submit your claim for ABSTUDY if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Payments you can get under ABSTUDY Awards

Payment What it helps with Schooling A Award Schooling B Award Tertiary Award Part time Award Testing and Assessment Award Masters and Doctorate Award Lawful Custody Award
ABSTUDY Living Allowance Living expenses No Yes Yes No No Yes No
Additional Assistance Costs in exceptional circumstances No Yes Yes No No Yes No
Additional Incidentals Allowance Essential courses costs No No Yes No No Yes No
Assistance to pay student contributions (formerly HECS) or tuition fees Tuition fees for Masters or Doctorate students No No No No No Yes No
Away from Base assistance Approved travel for study at a different location Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fares Allowance Approved travel between home and place of study Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Incidentals Allowance Study costs No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Lawful Custody Allowance Essential study costs if in lawful custody for more than 2 weeks No No No No No No Yes
Relocation Allowance Moving to another place to study No No No No No Yes No
School Fees Allowance School fees Yes Yes No No No No No
School Term Allowance Materials for school Yes No No No No No No
Thesis Allowance Costs of presenting a thesis No No No No No Yes No

Schooling A Award

This award is for primary or secondary students. We pay ABSTUDY to parents or guardians of eligible students.

If you're a primary school student, you must be all of the following:

  • 14 or older on 1 January in the year of study
  • studying full time
  • living at home.

If you're a secondary school student, you must be all of the following:

  • 15 or younger on 1 January in the year of study
  • studying full time
  • living at home.

Other payments or allowances you may get

If you can get ABSTUDY under the Schooling A Award, we’ll tell you how much we’ll pay you. You may automatically get:

If you’re eligible, you can also apply for:

  • Away from Base assistance to attend residential schools if you're a distance education or correspondence student
  • ABSTUDY Fares Allowance to attend approved Away from Base activities.

Schooling B Award

This award is for primary or secondary students.

You might be eligible if you're 16 or older or 15 and in state care. You might also be eligible if you’re independent because of any of the following:

  • you're an orphan
  • you have special adult status in a traditional community
  • you have, or had, a dependent child
  • you're caring for, or have custody of, another person's dependent child
  • you've spent more than a total of 6 months in lawful custody
  • it's unreasonable for you to live at home
  • your parents can’t take care of you because they're in prison, missing, mentally incapacitated or living in a nursing home.

You also need to be doing full time primary or secondary school studies.

Other reasons you might get it

You might get this award if you’re a secondary student and you’re doing full time secondary studies. You must be studying at an educational institution other than a secondary school, such as TAFE, to get this award. You must also meet the ABSTUDY progress and duration of assistance rules and have either:

  • met the minimum requirements for leaving school in your state or territory
  • got an exemption letter from the relevant education authority that lets you go to TAFE or another non-school institution.

If you’re under 16, you might also get this award if you’re any of the following:

  • approved to live away from home
  • a full time secondary school student
  • repeating the final year of primary school before you start secondary studies.

Other payments and allowances you may get

If you can get ABSTUDY under the Schooling B Award, we’ll tell you how much we’ll pay you. You may automatically get:

You may be able to get other payments. If you’re eligible, you can also apply for:

Your family may get Family Tax Benefit instead of ABSTUDY if you meet a set of conditions. Use the Payment and Service Finder to work out the best payment option for your family.

Tertiary Award

This award is for full time tertiary students and Australian Apprentices.

Students

You need to be a tertiary student with a full time or concessional study load for this award. You must also meet the ABSTUDY progress and duration of assistance rules, and have either:

  • met the minimum requirements for leaving school in your state or territory
  • got an exemption letter from the relevant education authority that lets you go to TAFE or another tertiary institution.

Other payments and allowances you may get

If you can get ABSTUDY under the Tertiary Award as a student, we’ll tell you how much we'll pay you.

Depending on the claim you submit, we’ll pay you one or more of the following:

Read about the payments you can get under ABSTUDY Awards to work out which claim to submit.

If you claim ABSTUDY Living Allowance or Pensioner Education Supplement, you may also automatically get:

You may be able to get other payments. If you’re eligible, you can also apply for:

Australian Apprentices

You need to meet some conditions to be an Australian Apprentice. You need to be both:

  • registered under the Australian Apprentice scheme
  • doing a full time apprenticeship or traineeship.

You need to be a full time apprentice, trainee, or trainee apprentice in the Australian Apprenticeships scheme for this award. You must also have either:

  • met the minimum requirements for leaving school in your state or territory
  • got an exemption letter from the relevant education authority that lets you do an apprenticeship.

Read more about Australian Apprenticeships on the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Other payments and allowances you may get

If you can get ABSTUDY under the Tertiary Award as an Australian Apprentice, we’ll tell you how much we’ll pay you.

Depending on the claim you submit, we’ll pay you one or more of the following:

Read about the payments you can get under ABSTUDY Awards to work out which claim to submit. 

If you claim ABSTUDY Living Allowance, you may also automatically get:

You can also apply for Additional Assistance if you’re in severe financial hardship and need help to cover study costs.

Part time Award

This award is for part time students who are either:

  • of any age and doing tertiary study
  • 18 or older at 1 January in the year of study and doing secondary study.

Depending on the claim you submit, we’ll pay you one or more of the following:

Read about the payments you can get under ABSTUDY Awards to work out which claim to submit. 

Other payments and allowances you may get

You can also apply for:

Testing and Assessment Award

This award is for students who need to travel for tests, assessments or interviews before starting their studies.

We can help you attend up to 2 tests or assessments each year. We will help you if you need to travel away from your usual home and you're doing either:

  • tests or assessments for the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program
  • a normal tertiary course admission test or interview.

This only applies if you can’t be assessed on your previous study. You also can’t be getting other financial help for the test or interview.

Other payments and allowances you may get

If you can get ABSTUDY under the Testing and Assessment award, you won't get any additional payments automatically. If you’re eligible, you can apply for:

Master’s and Doctorate Award

This award is for Master’s and Doctorate students. You must be both:

  • enrolled in an approved master’s degree or doctoral course
  • doing a full time or concessional study load.

You must also not be getting any other form of financial help. For example a scholarship under the Department of Education and Training Research Training Program.

Other payments and allowances you may get

If you can get ABSTUDY under the Master’s and Doctorate Award, we’ll tell you how much we’ll pay you.

Depending on the claim you submit, we’ll pay you one or more of the following:

Read about the payments you can get under ABSTUDY Awards to work out which claim to submit. 

If you claim ABSTUDY Living Allowance or Pensioner Education Supplement, you may also automatically get Relocation Scholarship.

You may be able to get other payments. If you’re eligible, you can also apply for:

  • Additional Incidentals Allowance
  • Away from Base assistance
  • Thesis Allowance
  • Assistance to pay Commonwealth Supported Places commitment, previously known as HECS, or compulsory course fees
  • Relocation Allowance or ABSTUDY Fares Allowance
  • Additional Assistance
  • Student Start-up Loan.

Student or Australian Apprentice in Lawful Custody Award

This award is for students and Australian Apprentices in a correctional institution, remand centre or youth training centre. You must be in lawful custody for more than 2 weeks and be either:

  • studying an approved course
  • doing a full time apprenticeship, traineeship, or trainee apprenticeship under the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme.

Read more about apprenticeships on the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Other payments and allowances you may get

We’ll tell you if you can get Lawful Custody Allowance. You may get this, if you can get ABSTUDY under the Student or Australian Apprentice in Lawful Custody Award.

If you’re eligible, you can apply for Away from Base assistance. You must be a student and have permission from your correctional institution to attend classes.

Page last updated: 19 June 2019

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