A group of payments for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students or apprentices.

Eligibility basics

  • you're an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian, and
  • in an approved course, Australian Apprenticeship or traineeship, and
  • not getting another payment to study or train

There are changes to approved courses that may impact your eligibility for a payment. Go to the Department of Social Services website for information.

If you get a letter saying you’re not eligible, there’s still time to change your study options to align with approved courses and institutions.

Eligibility & payment rates

Who can get it

You can get ABSTUDY if you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and meet certain criteria.

Read more about who can get ABSTUDY

What it covers

ABSTUDY can help with your study costs and housing if you need to travel to study.

Read more about what ABSTUDY covers

Award types

There are 7 awards that describe eligibility for the different payments and allowances available under ABSTUDY.

Read more about ABSTUDY Award types

Dependent or independent

If you apply for ABSTUDY, you’ll be assessed as being dependent or independent for payment.

Read more about being dependent or independent

Income and assets tests

The amount of ABSTUDY you may get will depend on your personal circumstances.

Read more about income and assets tests for 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.

Read more about higher rates of ABSTUDY when living away from home

Fares Allowance

Helps cover the cost of travel between your permanent home and place of study if you need to live away from home to study and receive ABSTUDY.

Read more about the ABSTUDY Fares Allowance.

Incidentals Allowance

A payment to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with the cost of starting or continuing study or training.

Read more about Incidentals Allowance

School Fees Allowance

Helps with the cost of school fees for ABSTUDY students and their families.

Read more about the ABSTUDY School Fees Allowance.

Residential Costs Option

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

Read more about the Residential Costs Option

Payment rates

The amount of ABSTUDY you get depends on your situation.

Read more about the payment rates for ABSTUDY

Distance and online education for tertiary and secondary students

If you study by distance education, you need to do an approved course with an approved institution.

Read more about distance and online education


Check if you're eligible before you start your claim.


  • decide how to submit your claim
  • complete your claim
  • complete your supporting forms
  • submit your claim before the closing date, and
  • after we assess your claim we tell you the outcome


Managing your payment

Try self service

Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.

Read more about using self service.

Annual parental income test reassessment

If you're dependent and you get Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY, we may need your parents’ or guardians’ income details each year.

Read more about the annual parental income test reassessment

Change of circumstances

You must tell us if things change as it may affect your payment.

Read more about reporting your change of circumstances

Advance payment

You may get part of your income support early. This is an advance. You pay it back out of your normal payments from us.

Read more about advance payment

Weekly payment option

Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.

Read more about weekly payments

While travelling outside Australia

To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for ABSTUDY.

Read more about ABSTUDY while travelling outside Australia

Online review of study details

We may send a letter to your myGov inbox asking you to complete an online review of your study details.

Read more about online review of study details


Vocational Education and Training - VET Student Loans

Eligible Students can get a VET Student Loan to access higher level VET qualifications.

This could help you, if you couldn’t otherwise afford to pay for your course upfront.

Read more about VET Student Loans on the Department of Education and Training website.

If your course has stopped because of provider closures, you may be eligible for support from the tuition assurance scheme.

Read more about Provider Closures on the Department of Education and Training website.

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

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

Regular deductions using Centrepay

You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.

Read more about how Centrepay works

Page last updated: 7 February 2018