ABSTUDY Fares Allowance information for boarding schools and hostels

As a boarding school or hostel you have some duties for your students who get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance and need to travel home.

The role of boarding schools and hostels

You play an important role in arranging travel requests for students who get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance. This payment helps with travel costs for students who get ABSTUDY and need to live away from home.

To get it, secondary school students need to be covered by 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.

Boarding school and hostel responsibilities

It’s important to understand your responsibilities when accessing ABSTUDY Fares Allowance.  If you don’t, the student may get a penalty.

As a boarding school or hostel arranging travel for students you must make sure they:

  • have a copy of their itinerary with them at all times
  • have photo identification with them at all times when travelling that matches the name on their ticket
  • have any medications they need to take
  • have a phone number for your school or hostel, including one for after hours
  • dress according to travel carrier requirements, for example, they must wear shoes
  • know the carry on and checked baggage allowances of all travel carriers
  • arrive and stay at the transport terminal, according to the transport carrier requirements
  • behave as per school standards and expectations
  • travel at the time booked, unless we’ve approved travel changes
  • don’t stop mid trip unless there are special circumstances we’ve approved
  • always stay at the transport terminal when waiting for a connecting trip, and
  • report any travel disruptions immediately to your school or hostel

If you have any questions, call us on 131 158.

What you need to know when making travel requests

When you’re ready to make a travel request, tell us the travel details and we’ll arrange the trip.

We must get all requests at least 6 weeks before the travel date, except for compassionate travel. If needed, you should make a request for compassionate travel as soon as possible.

When making a request, include:

  • the names of all students, making sure they match the photo identification they’ll be carrying on the trip
  • preferred travel dates for all students, noting weekend and after hours travel restrictions
  • if the student will travel with a supervisor, the supervisor's full name as it appears on their photo identification, their Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN) if they have one, contact details and preferred travel dates
  • if the student or supervisor will have excess baggage
  • if the student or supervisor needs accommodation and transfers, and
  • if the student or supervisor won’t travel by a particular mode of transport, for example a small plane

You can call us on 131 158 to discuss how to organise travel.

When you’ve confirmed travel arrangements, we’ll give you a copy of the itinerary. Check the itinerary and everything is correct. Contact us immediately if there are any problems with the departure and arrival dates or times.

You must give the parent or guardian and the student a copy of the itinerary. Make sure students are aware of their travel and that missing travel can have penalties for them and their family.

Travel restrictions for students

Weekend travel and interstate travel restrictions apply for secondary school students.

We usually only approve travel from the student's place of study to their permanent home and back. We may not approve travel to other places.

Supervisor travel for young students

All ABSTUDY secondary school students younger than 12 must travel with a supervisor for the entire trip.

We encourage ABSTUDY secondary school students 12 to 17 to travel with a supervisor on trips where:

  • they’re travelling to an educational institution for the first time
  • there’s 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 their place of study in 1 day and need to stay overnight
  • they have a history of missing travel, or
  • they have emotional or psychological challenges that need 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 or over.

Supervisors help students meet connecting travel and supervise students if they miss their travel or there’s a disruption during the trip. If a student needs to stay overnight, they must look after the student until they can rebook travel.

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 we won’t cover any loss of pay.

Orientation and special purpose visit travel

Students may be eligible for help for a return trip between their home and place of study:

  • to attend an interview before acceptance into a boarding school
  • if they’re from a remote community and going away to board for the first time
  • if they’re at risk of suspension or expulsion because they haven’t adjusted at the school and a visit from a parent, guardian or another person will help them, or
  • if they’ve completed secondary studies in the previous year and plan to study an approved tertiary course for at least 1 year

You’ll need to provide proof of the student’s orientation or special purpose travel requirement before we can book their travel.

In some cases, it may be more cost effective to have a representative from your school travel to the community to conduct the interviews. This may be an option if a number of students from the same community need to do enrolment interviews or selection exercises.

We may approve up to 2 representatives to travel to and from the community. You’ll need to show this will be more cost effective before we approve the travel.

Expelled secondary students

If a boarding school expels a student they need to make arrangements for the student to return to their permanent home.  

The parents or guardians and the school need to discuss and organise travel. If this isn’t possible, they can get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance in the following circumstances:

  • the student is a possible risk to themselves or others
  • the school’s followed all steps needed for legislative requirements, including contacting parents and authorities such as the police or Child Protection
  • the school has exhausted all other local solutions such as relocating the student with family members, and
  • there’s no other source of funding from the school or family

You’ll need to complete a checklist to confirm you’ve met these conditions. The principal or head of the school will need to sign the checklist. It should include:

  • an outline of what the school has done to try and fix the issue
  • the name and contact number of the parent or guardian, and
  • a brief outline of the discussions with the parent or guardian and outcome

For a copy of the checklist, call us on 131 158.

Suspended secondary students

Suspended students can’t get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance. The school should follow state requirements for managing suspended students and discuss the situation with the parent or guardian.

If a student’s 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.

Changing travel we’ve 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 needs student participation
  • festivals, shows or social events such as formals
  • participation in other extracurricular activities that needs the involvement of selected students over the school holiday period

We won’t approve changes to booked travel unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances may include when the student:

  • can’t travel due to an illness or injury, or due to the death or funeral of an immediate family member
  • needs to take part in a significant cultural event
  • needs to change their travel destination because their parents have recently moved
  • needs to change their travel plans because of selection for extracurricular activities such as a sporting or religious event after booking their travel.

You’ll need proof of the student’s situation before we can change their travel.

It’s important students travel on the date we arranged to avoid penalties. If a student can’t travel due to exceptional circumstances, call us immediately on Freecall™1800 132 317. We need at least 24 hours notice to change travel arrangements.

Cancelling travel we’ve arranged

If a student can’t travel due to exceptional circumstances and 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.

If the travel was cancelled due to exceptional circumstances, we can rebook the travel. If the travel was cancelled for any other reason, we won’t rebook the travel. You or the parent or guardian will need to book and pay for the travel and, if eligible, seek reimbursement from us.

Penalties for missed travel

There are travel penalties for students who miss travel we’ve booked.

No penalty applies the first time a secondary school student misses travel in a calendar year and that travel can be rebooked.

If they miss travel more than once, we won’t rebook the same trip in advance. You or their parent or guardian will need to book and pay for the travel and, if eligible, apply for reimbursement. The student, parent or guardian may need to pay back our expenses for the trip they missed.

If they missed travel due to an exceptional circumstance, we may not apply a penalty.

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.

Reimbursement of fares

If a student qualifies for ABSTUDY Fares Allowance and you pay for their trip, we’ll reimburse the cost at the ABSTUDY Fares Allowance rate. The amount will be the lesser of the:

  • most reasonable costs of travel, or
  • actual cost of the trip

To claim reimbursement, complete and submit an ABSTUDY Fares Allowance Claim:

  • by fax to 132 155
  • in person at a service centre, or
  • by post to:
    Department of Human Services
    Student Services
    Reply Paid 7804
    Canberra BC ACT 2610

You must give us proof such as tickets, dockets or receipts with the claim.

You must submit your claim before 1 April in the year after the year of study for reimbursement.

More information for students

Read more about ABSTUDY and ABSTUDY Fares Allowance for students.

Related payments and services

Page last updated: 15 January 2018