Fares Allowance

Helps with travel costs between your permanent home and your place of tertiary study in Australia.

If you get ABSTUDY, you can read more about ABSTUDY Fares Allowance.

Who can get it

You need to meet 3 criteria to get Fares Allowance.

  1. You’re a tertiary student living away from home to study.
  2. You get:
  3. You:

Secondary students and Australian Apprentices can’t get Fares Allowance.

Studying by distance and online

You may get Fares Allowance to attend compulsory activities for your study if:

This includes field excursions, practical teaching sessions or a hospital residency.


Aaron gets Austudy and is an online student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. He lives with his partner in Melbourne. He must go to Brisbane for a compulsory residential unit. Aaron can claim Fares Allowance with proof to support his claim. Aaron can either ask us to pre-book his travel or he can claim a reimbursement after he’s travelled.

What we pay it for

If you’re eligible, you can get Fares Allowance for the following situations.

Fares Allowance covers the cost of the least expensive and most available form of public transport in Australia.

If you: You can use the allowance for:
Get Youth Allowance, Austudy or Pensioner Education Supplement as a tertiary student for less than 6 months a year
  • 1 trip to your place of study from your home to start studying
  • 1 trip home after finishing or ending your study
Get Youth Allowance, Austudy or Pensioner Education Supplement as a tertiary student for 6 months or more a year
  • 1 trip to your place of study from your home to start studying per year
  • 1 return trip between your place of study and your home during the study year. In most cases, you won’t qualify for a return trip in your first year until at least 1 July. You can ask us to pre-book your journey to see when you can get your first return trip
  • 1 trip home after finishing or ending your study per year
Study online or by distance and have to travel for tertiary study
  • 1 return trip between your permanent home and your place of study for each course per year

Public transport

You can use the allowance for air, ferry, coach, train, bus or a combination of these. We may also cover the cost of standard baggage fees.

We sometimes reimburse or pre-book extra baggage fees if you need to transport extra items for your study. For example, if you need to transport essential living items like kitchenware, or for a music student who needs to take their instrument between their permanent home and place of study.

Private transport

Where it’s not practical to use public transport, you can travel by private transport. It might not be practical to use public transport if you need to move belongings that:

  • exceed strict luggage limits, or
  • are difficult to move around

You’ll need to explain why you couldn’t use public transport.

If it’s more practical to travel by public transport and you don’t, we may only pay you the equivalent amount of the cheapest public transport available.

Example 1

Sonya studies at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, NSW. Her parents live in Townsville, QLD. She gets Youth Allowance as a dependent student at the away from home rate.

Sonya paid for a flight home to see her parents at the end of the study year and took a bus to the airport. Sonya can claim Fares Allowance for the cost of the flight and bus. If Sonya travelled by private car, we would pay the amount of a bus fare if it’s the cheapest form of public transport.

Example 2

David is from Goulburn and is starting his first year of study in Wollongong. He gets Youth Allowance as a full time student.

David drives his car from Goulburn to Wollongong to transport essential belongings too large to carry on the multiple bus or train trips he would need to take. We pay David for the cost of private transport even though it’s cheaper to get public transport because it’s the most practical form of travel for this trip.

When to claim

You can get Fares Allowance after your journey or we can pre-book your travel for you.

Pre-booked travel

We may pre-book and pay for your travel by air, ferry, train or coach.

You’ll need to pay any extra travel costs we can’t pre-book, such as a local bus. You can claim reimbursement for this after your trip.

You must request pre-booked travel no later than 7 days before your travel.


Elizabeth gets Youth Allowance. She’s a dependent student attending university in Sydney. Her home is in Perth. Elizabeth wants to travel home to see her parents at the end-of-year break.

Elizabeth can ask us to book and pay for the most practical transport home, for example, flights.

Elizabeth catches the local bus to and from the airport which we can’t pre-book. She can claim a reimbursement for the bus after she’s travelled.


You need to submit a reimbursement claim by no later than 31 March in the year following the year of study.


Mitchell gets Austudy and lives 6 hours away from his partner so he can study. He goes home in December 2016 by coach. He must claim a reimbursement for Fares Allowance no later than 31 March 2017, or we’ll reject his claim.

Claim for payment if the student has died

If a student dies, another person can claim Fares Allowance on their behalf. They can do this if the person has travelled but hasn’t submitted a claim.

Unless special circumstances apply, they must submit a claim:

  • within 26 weeks of the student’s death, or
  • by 31 March of the following year, whichever is earlier

How to claim

To claim Fares Allowance for pre-booked travel or a reimbursement, you can:

You’ll need proof of your travel, including an itinerary and tax invoices.

Wait for the results

If you get a reimbursement, we’ll pay it into the same bank account as your student payment.

You have the right to appeal our decision. Read about reviews and appeals.

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.

Page last updated: 3 April 2019

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