Full-time and part-time students can apply for financial support in the form of allowances from the Federal Government. Some of these allowances are also available to people who are unemployed and looking for work.
Different allowances are available depending on your personal circumstances.
For more info on how to survive on a student budget check out our Student concessions and discounts page.
Working out what you're eligible for
The Centrelink website has a Payment Finder tool that lets you choose from a series of options and then comes up with links to information about payments you could be eligible for.
Note that you're not automatically eligible for the allowances it recommends. Before you apply for any payments, you should do some research on the Centrelink website to make sure you're definitely eligible.
You can apply for Youth Allowance if you're between 16 and 24 and you're:
- studying full-time
- doing a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship
- looking for work
Youth Allowance is an automatic payment that you receive every fortnight, paid straight into your bank account. The rate of pay depends on things like:
- if you have a job
- how much you’re earning if you do have a job
- if you live away from home
- whether or not you have children.
You can apply for Austudy if you're 25 or older and either:
- studying full-time
- doing a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.
The rate of your Austudy payment varies depending on things like:
- if you're single or in a couple
- if you have children
- if you're long-term unemployed.
If you're Indigenous and are studying either full-time or part-time at secondary or tertiary level, you can apply for ABSTUDY payments.
The rate of ABSTUDY payments depends on things like:
- your age
- what you’re studying
- how much you earn if you’re doing paid work.
Newstart is not specifically a student allowance, but part-time and full-time students can apply if they meet the following requirements:
- you're over 22 and under the age for receiving the age pension
- you're unemployed
- you're looking for work
- you're prepared to undertake mutual obligation requirements.
Mutual obligation requirements are things that you have to do in order to remain eligible for Newstart, including studying, looking for work and doing training.
Pensioner Education Supplement
You can apply for the Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) if you're studying either full-time or part-time and you're receiving a pension, including:
- disability support pensions
- parenting payments
- widow allowance
- payments from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC)
Your family may qualify for the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) scheme if you're a primary, secondary or tertiary student and you can't go to your nearest state school because:
- you live too far away
- you have a disability or other special health needs.
This scheme may be able to help you pay for the cost of travel or accommodation, or other costs related to your attending school.
If you’re at uni or TAFE and have to live away from your permanent home while studying, Fares Allowance can help you afford to travel between your permanent home and your place of study.
You can apply for Fares Allowance as long as you meet the residence requirements and you already receive another allowance from Centrelink, like:
- Youth Allowance
Help dealing with Centrelink
If you have a problem with or concern about your allowance, you can make a complaint directly by using Centrelink's online feedback form or calling them on 1800 132 468.
If you need some advice about what your options are, there are additional ways to get help.
Victoria Legal Aid has a series of pages about your rights and responsibilities when dealing with Centrelink, including how to disagree with a Centrelink decision.