Study loads

Most people need to study full time to get Austudy or Youth Allowance as a student. To work out if you’re full time you need to know your study load.

If your study load changes, you must tell us within 14 days. If you don’t tell us, you may end up having to pay money back.

You can use your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to tell us about changes.

Read about updating your study details using your Centrelink online account.

Full time study

You’re studying full time if you’re doing 75% or more of your course’s full time study load. We work this out by the hours you study, or the amount of credit points you’re enrolled in.

Example 1 – you’re studying a course which is based on credit points

The place you’re studying at says the total number of credit points for your course is 24 per semester. In this example, you’re studying 3 subjects worth 6 credit points each.

Total credit points Course length Full time study load 75% study load
24 per semester 3 years 4 subjects worth 6 credit points each
4 x 6 = 24
24 x 0.75 = 18 credit points per semester

In this example the 75% study load is 18 credit points per semester. Because you’re completing 18 credit points, you’re full time. If you’re doing less than this you’re part time.

Example 2 – you’re studying a course based on hours

The place you’re studying at says the total number of hours for your course is 200 and the course length is 10 weeks.

Total hours Course length Full time study load 75% study load
200 hours 10 weeks 20 hours a week
(200 hours ÷ 10 weeks = 20 hours per week)
15 hours a week
(200 hours x 0.75 = 150 hours.
150 hours ÷ 10 weeks = 15 hours per week)

In this example, if you’re doing at least 15 hours a week you’re studying full time. If you’re doing less than this you’re studying part time.

Part time study

You’re studying part time if you’re doing less than 75% of your course’s full time study load.

If you’re under 22 and you’re studying part time, you might get Youth Allowance as a job seeker. You’ll need to have a Job Plan and do some other activities as well.

Allowable time

You can only get Austudy or Youth Allowance as a student for a set amount of time. We call this allowable time.

If your study load is 75% instead of 100% you might run out of allowable time. This means you may not get your student payment for the whole time it takes to finish your course.

Read more about allowable time for Youth Allowance or allowable time for Austudy.

Reducing your study load

You might change to a lower study load because:

  • you want to drop a subject
  • your course changes and you don’t have a choice
  • you have a disability
  • you’re sick or injured

You must tell us if your study load reduces below 75%. This usually means we can’t pay you a student payment.

If you decide to drop a subject

If you decide to study less than 75% it means you’re part time. In most cases you can’t get Austudy or Youth Allowance as a student.

Austudy students

You might not have a choice about reducing your study load. For example, you might:

  • have a timetable clash
  • fail a subject you need to pass to get into the one you want to do

Your course provider might:

  • cancel one of your subjects
  • have no vacancies in one of your subjects
  • reduce your study load for academic or vocational reasons

If your study load goes under 75% and you didn’t have a choice about it, you may stay on Austudy. You’ll need to:

  • give us a letter from your academic registrar or similar that includes 1 of the reasons above, and
  • keep a study load of at least 66%

If your study load falls because of the institution’s academic or vocational decision, we can only keep your payments going for half the academic year. After this you’ll need a study load of at least 75% to stay on Austudy.

Austudy students with disability

If you have a substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability, you may not be able to study full time or finish in the allowable time.

You may still be eligible for Austudy if you do at least 25% of the full time study load.

You need to give us proof from a medical practitioner who specialises in the area of your disability. This must be in writing and show you’re unable to study full time.

Youth Allowance students

If you can’t study full time for a while because you’re sick or injured you may still be eligible for Youth Allowance.

You’ll need to give us a medical certificate that shows you can return to full time study when you’re better.

Page last updated: 12 May 2018