ABSTUDY

Higher rates when living away from home

You may get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if you need to live away from home to study or do your Australian Apprenticeship.

We’ll assess you for the higher rate of ABSTUDY when you claim or tell us of a change to your circumstances.

Primary school students

You may get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if you're living away from home to repeat the final year of primary school so you can start secondary studies.

Secondary school students

You may get a higher rate if you’re in secondary school and live away from home to study if:

You might also get a higher rate if you’re in secondary school and live away from home to study if:

Tertiary students and secondary students not at a secondary school

You may get a higher rate if you’re a tertiary student, or a secondary student not studying at a secondary school, and live away from home to study if either:

If you’re a tertiary student you may get a higher rate if it’s compulsory to live at your place of study.

Australian Apprentices

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home to do your Australian Apprenticeship if either:

Independent students and apprentices

You’ll get a higher rate if you’re a full time independent student or Australian Apprentice living away from your parents’ or guardians’ home.

You can only get a higher rate of ABSTUDY if you’re independent, 21 or younger and living in your parents’ home if:

  • you’re married or have been married, or are in a registered relationship
  • you have, or have had, a dependent child
  • you’re 16 or older and have been living with your partner for at least 6 months
  • you have care or custody of another person’s dependent child, student or Australian Apprentice, or
  • you’re 16 or older and live in an Aboriginal community after being adopted or fostered by a non-Aboriginal family for more than 2 years.

Higher rate of ABSTUDY criteria

Travel time or access

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because daily travel from home to your place of study or workplace is impossible or unreasonable.

Travel is impossible or unreasonable if either:

  • it takes more than 90 minutes - including reasonable walking and waiting time, or
  • blocked roads, flooding or unreliable transport make it hard to travel at least 20 days in the school year.

If you’re a secondary school student, travel may also be unreasonable if your home is at least either:

  • 56 km from a suitable school
  • 4.5 km from the nearest transport service and at least 16 km from a suitable school.

Local government school has a limited program or facilities

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home to study because your local government secondary schools are limited program schools.

Limited program schools either:

  • don’t offer all year levels or grades
  • don’t have facilities or programs for you to get your Year 12 certificate or an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

Approved special course

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home to do an approved special course because no government school within reasonable travel time or access offers one. A special course is:

  • study in drama, music, art, dance, sport or technology at a government school with special school status in the subject
  • a secondary course with 2 agricultural subjects or sometimes 1
  • a full time secondary course that gives you a specialist qualification
  • a secondary course that’s a prerequisite for a specific tertiary course.

A special course can also include a secondary course with an Indigenous studies subject that’s:

  • accredited for exams by the state or territory education authority
  • endorsed by the local state or territory Indigenous Advisory Group, or another formally recognised authority, and
  • where you study at least 4 hours per week.

The state or territory education authority must approve the course at the government school you’re enrolled in.

Disability, health condition or special education need

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because you have a disability or health condition and you:

  • board at a special education institution
  • need special facilities or a special environment
  • can’t travel to school daily
  • need regular medical treatment you can’t get near your home
  • need to live in a different climate.

A disability or health condition includes:

  • a physical or intellectual disability
  • a psychological, emotional or behavioural problem
  • a medical condition
  • pregnancy.

Home conditions

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because of your home conditions. This may be if circumstances at home, or in the community seriously affect your ability to study or do your apprenticeship.

This includes things like:

  • you often lack basic needs such as food, water, clothing, power, shelter or sleep
  • drug or alcohol abuse, criminal or illegal activity, or violence in the home seriously threaten your health and wellbeing
  • noise, overcrowding, chronic illness or lack of facilities prevent or disrupt your study at home.

Parents move or are away a lot because of work

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home to study because both your parents move a lot for work. They must also meet one of the following:

  • they need to be away from home at least 40 week nights in the school year for work
  • they don’t normally live in one place during the school week because they do regular or long travel for work.

Scholarship to an independent boarding school

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because you’re offered a scholarship to an independent boarding school. The school needs to meet all of the following:

  • it’s an approved school and course of secondary studies
  • boarding is a necessary part of the school
  • the scholarship covers at least $6,000 or 25% of your total board and tuition, whichever is greater.

Scholarship to a Highly Effective or High Expectations School

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because you’re offered a scholarship and it’s both:

  • for an approved school and course of secondary studies
  • an Australian Government supported scholarship.

An Australian Government supported scholarship includes Indigenous Youth Leadership Program or similar scholarships paid under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy. This includes scholarships such as:

  • Madalah SOAR Scholarship
  • Presbyterian Ladies’ College Indigenous Scholarship Program – Peppermint Grove Western Australia
  • MADEC Indigenous Young People’s Program
  • Yalari Education Pathways Program
  • Sporting Chance Program or similar projects paid under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, including at former Sporting Chance Academies.

Other Australian Government supported scholarships include:

  • Cape York Institute's Academic Leaders - Secondary
  • Higher Expectations Program - Northern Territory
  • Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarship
  • Kajji Foundation Scholarship
  • Australian Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarship Program
  • Woomera Educational Scholarship Trust
  • Kimberley Education Excellence Program
  • Northern Territory Government Indigenous Education Excellence Scholarship
  • Ngurra Jirama Foundation Scholarship.

If you’re not sure, we can tell you if your scholarship is approved for ABSTUDY.

Transition School Scholarship

You may get a higher rate if you live away from home because you’re offered a scholarship to either:

  • the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) to help you get a scholarship at a high performing school
  • a MITS partner school after completing the MITS program.

Proof to support your claim

You may need to give us documents to prove you need to live away from home.

Situation Documents to give us
Primary school student needing to repeat final year of primary school A letter from your school telling us you need to repeat the final year of primary school.
It takes more than 90 minutes to travel from home to your place of study or work A written statement of the travel time by public transport, including waiting and walking time.
Road or weather conditions make it hard to get from home to your place of study or work

A letter from your local council describing both:

  • the conditions
  • number of times in the past year travel between your home and place of study or work was affected.
Secondary school student whose home is at least 56 km from a suitable school A written statement of the km between your home and school.
Secondary school student whose home is at least 4.5 km from the nearest transport service and at least 16 km from a suitable school

A written statement of the km between your home and both the:

  • transport service
  • school.
Local government school has a limited program or facilities If it isn’t on our list of limited program schools, a letter from the local education authority confirming the school can’t give you the right level of schooling.
Special course in drama, art, music, sport, technology, Indigenous studies or agriculture

If it isn’t on our approved special course, a letter from the state or territory education authority telling us the:

  • school meets the special course requirements
  • course isn’t available at government schools in your area.
Special course that gives you a specialist qualification

A letter from the state or territory education authority telling us:

  • it's a specialist course not generally available at secondary schools, and
  • the completion certificate is a formal qualification.
Special course that’s an essential prerequisite for a tertiary course
  • a statement with details of the tertiary course, and
  • a letter from the school telling us you have potential to get into the tertiary course and are enrolled in the prerequisite subjects.
Can’t travel to school daily due to disability or a health condition

A letter from a medical authority telling us:

  • what your disability is, and
  • you couldn’t live at home and travel to school daily.
Need regular medical treatment
  • a written statement with full details of travel required for treatment if you were living at home, and
  • a letter from a medical authority at the treatment centre telling us you need regular treatment.
Need to live in a different climate

A letter from a medical authority saying:

  • your medical condition and how the local environment affects it, and
  • the area you’re going to school in is less likely to cause your medical condition.
Excluded from all local government schools A letter from the local education authority telling us you’ve been excluded from all local government schools.
Racial discrimination at all local government schools

Written statements saying discrimination disrupted your study and the problem couldn’t be fixed from:

  • your parent or guardian
  • all government schools where you faced racial discrimination, and
  • an Indigenous education organisation or an incorporated Indigenous organisation.
Home conditions make it hard to study A written statement from an independent authority with firsthand knowledge of your situation.
Parents move a lot because of work

A written statement of:

  • dates and locations the family has moved to in the past 12 months, and
  • expected dates and locations of moves in the next 12 months.
Parents are away a lot because of work

A written statement of:

  • the type of work, and
  • the times they are away from home.
Independent boarding school scholarship

A letter from your school telling us:

  • you were awarded the scholarship
  • your scholarship will cover $6,000 or 25% of your tuition and boarding fees, whichever is greater.
Scholarship to a Highly Effective or High Expectation school

A letter from your school telling us:

  • the scholarship or program you’ve been granted, and
  • what percentage of your tuition and boarding fees the scholarship will cover.
Transition School Scholarship

A letter from Melbourne Indigenous Transition School telling us about the placement at the partner school.

Compulsory to live at your education institution

A letter from the education institution confirming:

  • it’s compulsory to live on campus, and
  • the dates you need to live on campus.

Other benefits

If you’re approved to live away from home, we may give you other help, like:

This information was printed Thursday 23 May 2019 from https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/abstudy/eligibility/higher-rates-when-living-away-from-home It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/site-notices when using this material.

Page last updated: 14 May 2019