Student Start-up Loan
A voluntary loan you can get up to twice a year if you’re an eligible higher education student.
About the loan
You can get the loan up to 2 times a year, once each loan period.
Loans are tax free and you don’t need to declare them to us as income for your regular student payment.
You have to pay back the loan once you start earning a certain amount of income. You should think about how this will impact you in the long term before you apply.
Watch our video about the Student Start-up Loan.
Who can get it
To get the Student Start-up Loan, you must:
- get Youth Allowance as a student, Austudy or ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- study a Student Start-up Loan approved course, and
- apply during the loan period and at least 35 days before your course ends
Who can’t get it
You can’t get the Student Start-up Loan if, for the same loan period, you get a:
- Student Start-up Scholarship paid by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, or
- Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarship paid by the Department of Education
These are different to approved courses for other student payments.
Your course is a Student Start-up Loan approved course if:
- you study it at a higher education institution, for example a university, and
- it’s an accredited higher education course, for example a bachelor degree, or
- it’s a preparatory course, for example a bridging course
Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, aren’t approved for the Student Start-up Loan.
Most courses at a TAFE are VET courses and aren’t approved. The exception is accredited higher education courses studied at TAFE.
Loan periods and payments
- 1 January to 30 June, and
- 1 July to 31 December
How much the loan is
The loan is a set amount of $1,055 per loan period. We review this amount on 1 January each year.
How we pay you
You’ll get the full $1,055 in one payment after you apply, and as soon as you’re eligible.
When we’ll pay you
If starting a new course, we’ll pay your loan with your next regular student payment after your course start date.
If you’ve applied for future loan periods, we’ll pay each one with your regular student payment from:
- 1 January for the loan period starting in January, or
- 1 July for the loan period starting in July
You must get at least $1 of your regular student payment in that fortnight for us to pay you the loan. If you don’t, we'll keep assessing your eligibility each fortnight. This means you may get the loan at a later date.
See when we pay your loan to you in your Centrelink online account through myGov. Select Payment History from the menu.
If you’re claiming Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY Living Allowance, you can apply for the Student Start-up Loan during your claim.
If you’re already getting a student payment for a loan approved course:
- log on to your Centrelink online account through myGov
- select Study Details from the menu
- select Apply for/Manage Student Start-up Loan – choose the loan period you want to apply for
- select accept or decline beside loan periods you wish to get the loan in
- accept the Terms and Conditions
- submit your application
If you’re not eligible you won’t have the option to apply in your online account.
Paying back the loan
This is the same way you pay back:
- Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debts, and
- Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) debts
Read more about repayment thresholds on the ATO website.
Change of circumstances
You must tell us if things change within 14 days as it may affect your payment. This includes changes to study, employment, personal details and relationship status.
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.