Information about ABSTUDY Fares Allowance for boarding schools and hostels.
The role of boarding schools and hostels
You play an important role in coordinating travel requests for students who receive ABSTUDY Fares Allowance.
ABSTUDY Fares Allowance helps students who live away from home with the cost of travel. To claim, secondary school students need to be eligible for the Schooling B Award and qualify for a higher rate of ABSTUDY when living away from home.
Before requesting travel for a student, you should discuss the student's travel requirements with their parent or guardian.
Making a travel request
When you are ready to make a travel request, tell us the travel details and we will arrange the trip.
We must receive all travel requests at least 6 weeks before the travel date, except for compassionate travel. Requests for compassionate travel must be advised as soon as possible.
When making a travel request, include:
- the names of all students, ensuring they match the photo identification they will be carrying when travelling
- preferred travel dates for all students, noting weekend and after hours travel restrictions
- if the student will be travelling with a supervisor, the supervisor's full name as per their photo identification, the supervisor's Centrelink Customer Reference Number if they have one, their contact details and preferred travel dates
- if the student or supervisor will be travelling with excess baggage above the transport provider's allowable limits
- an indication of whether accommodation and transfers are required, and
- notification if the student or supervisor will not travel by a particular mode of transport, for example a small plane
You can call us on Freecall™1800 132 317 to discuss how to organise travel for secondary school students.
When travel arrangements have been confirmed, we will give you a copy of the itinerary. Check the itinerary and contact us immediately if there are any issues with the departure and arrival dates or times.
You must provide the parent or guardian and the student with a copy of the travel itinerary. You should make sure students are fully aware of their travel arrangements and that missed travel can have serious consequences for them and their family.
Changing travel we have arranged
Before sending travel requests to us, please consider dates the student needs to be at school because of:
- academic requirements
- planned school events, such as sporting carnivals and school or religious camps
- culturally significant events that require student participation
- festivals, shows or social events such as formals
- participation in other extracurricular activities that require the involvement of selected students over the school holiday period
We will not approve changes to booked travel unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances may include when the student:
- cannot travel due to an illness or injury, or due to the death or funeral of an immediate family member
- needs to participate in a significant cultural event
- needs to change their travel destination because their parents have recently moved
- is selected for extracurricular activities such as a sporting or religious event after their travel was booked
You will need proof of the student’s situation before we can change their travel.
It is important that students travel on the date we arranged to avoid penalties. If a student cannot travel due to exceptional circumstances, call us immediately on Freecall™1800 132 317. We need at least 24 hours notice to cancel travel arrangements.
Cancelling travel we have arranged
If you need us to cancel a student's travel arrangements, call us immediately on Freecall™1800 132 317. We need at least 24 hours notice to cancel travel arrangements.
We will not rebook the travel. You or the parent or guardian will need to book and pay for the student's travel and, if eligible, seek reimbursement from us.
Expelled secondary students
If a decision has been made to expel a student, arrangements will need to be made for the student to return to their permanent home. The travel arrangements need to be discussed and organised in the first instance between the parent or guardian and the school. If you have exhausted all alternative solutions and the student needs travel to return home, assistance is available in the following circumstances:
- the student is considered to be a risk to themselves or others
- the school has followed the necessary steps as required by state legislative requirements, including contacting parents and authorities such as the police or Department of Child Safety or Children Services
- all alternative local solutions such as relocating the child with family members are exhausted, and
- no other source of funding from the school or family is available
You will need to complete a checklist to confirm the above circumstances have been met. The checklist will need the principal's or head of school's signature and comments outlining the action taken to resolve the issue. It will need to include the name and contact number of the parent or guardian and a brief outline of the discussions and outcome.
To request a copy of the checklist, call us on Freecall™ 1800 132 317.
Suspended secondary students
Suspended students will not have access to ABSTUDY Fares Allowance to travel from the school to their permanent home. The school should comply with state requirements for managing suspended students and discuss the situation with the parent or guardian. If a student is at risk of suspension or expulsion, a parent or guardian may be eligible for a return trip to visit the student under orientation or special purpose visit travel.
Reimbursement of fares
If you pay for a journey undertaken by an ABSTUDY secondary school student who qualifies for ABSTUDY Fares Allowance, we will reimburse the cost of the trip at the ABSTUDY Fares Allowance rate. The amount will be the lesser of the:
- cost of the most practical and cost effective transport for the trip, or
- actual cost of the trip
To claim reimbursement of travel costs, complete and submit an ABSTUDY Fares Allowance Claim:
- by fax to 1300 786 102
- in person at your nearest service centre, or
- by post to:
Department of Human Services
Reply Paid 7804
Canberra BC ACT 2610
You must supply proof such as tickets, dockets or receipts with the claim.
To be eligible for reimbursement, you must submit your claim before 1 April in the year after the year of study.
Supervisor travel for young students
All ABSTUDY secondary school students younger than 12 years of age must travel with a supervisor for the entire journey.
ABSTUDY secondary school students 12 to 17 years of age are encouraged to travel with a supervisor on trips where:
- they are travelling to an educational institution for the first time
- there is more than 1 mode of travel, for example a charter flight and a commercial flight
- there are long wait times between travel connections
- they can't get to the educational institution in a single day and need to stay overnight
- they have a history of missing travel, or
- they have emotional or psychological challenges that require the support of a supervisor
A supervisor can be a parent, guardian, a person from the student's community, or a representative from the school or hostel. They must be 18 years of age or over.
Supervisors can help young students meet connecting travel and supervise the child if they miss their travel or an unexpected disruption occurs mid trip. If a child needs to stay in a hotel overnight, the supervisor can look after the child until travel can be rebooked for the next day.
Supervisors may be eligible for a return trip between their home and the student's place of study for all types of travel. This may include overnight accommodation and meals, but any loss of pay is not covered.
Weekend travel and interstate travel restrictions apply for secondary school students.
We will normally only approve travel from the student's study location to their permanent home and back. Travel to other locations may not be approved.
Penalties for missed travel
Travel penalties exist for students who miss travel we have booked in advance.
No travel penalty will apply if a secondary school student misses travel we booked for the first time in a calendar year. We can rebook the travel.
If they miss travel again, we will not rebook nor pay for the same trip in advance. You or the parent or guardian will need to book and pay for the travel and, if eligible, seek reimbursement of fares from us. The student or parent or guardian may have to pay back the amount we were charged for the trip they missed.
If they missed travel due to an exceptional circumstance, we may not apply a penalty.
It is important students travel on the date organised by us. You should make sure students are fully aware of their travel arrangements and that missed travel can have serious consequences for them and their family. Arranging for a supervisor to travel with a student reduces the risk of the student missing their booked travel.
Orientation and special purpose visit travel
If a number of students from the same community need to undertake enrolment interviews or selection exercises, it may be more cost effective to have a representative from your school travel to the community to conduct the interviews.
Up to 2 representatives may be approved to travel to and from the community. You will need to show this will be more cost effective before we approve the travel.