Changes to ABSTUDY starting 1 January 2019

What schools and boarding providers need to know.

Changes for ABSTUDY students studying away from home

Payment rates

This applies to students who are:

  • under 16
  • in secondary school
  • studying away from home, and
  • getting ABSTUDY Living Allowance at the away from home rate.

From 1 January, they may get the Living Allowance away from home rate we pay students over 16.

If a student is eligible, their rate will automatically change. If you get the payment on their behalf, this will continue at the higher rate.

Simplified scholarship criteria

This applies to ABSTUDY students who are studying away from home and get a scholarship.

From 1 January, we’ll approve a scholarship for ABSTUDY if it meets one of the following:

  • the minimum scholarship value is $6,000
  • the value is 25% of the school’s annual boarding and tuition fees - whichever is greater.

There’s no change for students who already have a scholarship approved for ABSTUDY.

Changes for ABSTUDY Fares Allowance students

More Flexible travel

This applies to students getting ABSTUDY Fares Allowance. From 1 January, students may get:

  • extra visits from family or community members
  • to travel to places besides school and home on their usual travel route.

There are also reduced penalties for missed travel. If a student misses a trip without a valid reason, they can now continue to access pre-booked travel.

There’s no change to how you book travel for a student.

Safe Travel Plans

This applies to primary and secondary students getting ABSTUDY Fares Allowance.

You’ll need to set up a Safe Travel Plan with students and their parents. The plans identify travel risks and aim to increase travel safety.

Students who don’t have a plan by 1 July 2019 won’t be able to get ABSTUDY Fares Allowance as pre-booked travel.

Changes for schools and boarding providers

Provider payment in instalments

This applies to you if you get ABSTUDY payments on behalf of students. This will continue.

However, from 1 January, we’ll no longer pay you in a lump sum. We’ll pay you in 2 instalments—at the start and end of term.

If a student changes schools during a term, we’ll reconcile the amount you get.

Next steps

Read more:

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Page last updated: 21 June 2019

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