Several financial support programs are available for students in Australia. These can help you pay for your study or living expenses while studying. Some of them don’t have to be paid back, and most of them include a fee contribution at the end of your course as well. Here is more information on some of the common financial support options students can avail of:
This is an income support payment for students and apprentices under 22 years of age. It’s available to full-time, part-time, or casual students in school, TAFE, or university as well as Australian Apprenticeships. You need to meet certain criteria such as studying at least 15 hours a week during semester periods and working a certain number of hours a week during school/TAFE holidays.
The maximum amount you can get depends on your situation and whether you’re an independent student or have parents who claim you as a dependent. You will need to provide evidence such as tax returns, birth certificates, bank statements, and payslips when applying for this payment.
From January 2021, you’ll need to be studying at least part-time (about six hours per week) for Youth Allowance. This will also apply if your course was full-time in 2020 and is still running while you study part-time in 2021.
The maximum rate of payment varies between $437 and $519 depending on your circumstances.
Newstart/Youth Allowance Supplement
If you’re a full-time student receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance, you may be eligible to receive a supplement through your Centrelink payments from January 2021 onwards. This supplement is designed to help students with the costs of study.
The supplement will vary depending on your circumstances and where you live, but it may be up to $143/fortnight for full-time students who are living away from home or studying at TAFE/university (or more than 15 hours a week). You’ll need to meet certain criteria such as being a single parent or have a disability.
You can apply for the supplement either online, over the phone, or in-person at your nearest Centrelink office.
AuStudy is a financial help program for HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, and OS-Help debt. It offers you up to $2000 in living allowances per year (less if you have an existing HELP or TSL loan). You can also get money towards the cost of study tools like textbooks as well as travel and relocation expenses.
You can apply for this support if you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident who started your full-time course in 2018, 2019, or 2020 as well as those who study part-time from 2021 onwards (after completing at least two years of a three-year bachelor degree). You must also be studying for 52 weeks/semester periods during the year.
You can apply online, by phone, or in-person at a Study Assistance Centre (SAC). You’ll need to make sure you meet all eligibility requirements and provide evidence such as your Tax File Number (TFN) before applying.
StudyLink – Work while Studying
This program offers financial assistance for students who’re working while studying. You can get money to cover the costs of study-related expenses such as travel and equipment, course fees, or childcare/study assistance if you need it.
You must be an Australian citizen enrolled in a full-time tertiary level qualification at TAFE, university, or private training establishment. You can get up to $200 per fortnight if you work 15 hours or more a week during your course plus an allowance for travel and weekend overtime (up to $50).
This assistance is in addition to the Youth Allowance income support payment, although it does affect how much money you’ll receive from that program.
You can apply for this program by filling out an online form or calling the StudyLink hotline.
StudyLink – Financial Assistance to Buy a Computer/Laptop and other devices
If you need to purchase study equipment such as a laptop because you don’t already have one or your current one isn’t working, then you may be eligible to receive help from StudyLink. You can get up to $800 for a home computer and up to $300 for other devices such as laptops, tablets, or printers depending on what you need.
You must have an income below the student income threshold if applying online but can apply if you’re above this income level by calling the StudyLink hotline on 0800 88 99 00.
StudyAssist – Study Support Loans
This program offers support loans of up to $1628 per year (maximum). You’ll need to pay back the loan in full (plus interest) and you may not be eligible if your course is longer than two years.
You can apply for this support online or by calling 1300 808 178. You’ll need to provide evidence such as tax returns, birth certificates, and bank statements when applying.
If you’re an Australian resident who is studying, then you may be eligible for tax deductions. You can claim expenses such as course fees or textbooks if they are related to your study and were paid using money that was already taxed (i.e. not from student loans).
You can also get a deduction on relocation expenses if you need to move to study. You can claim up to $300 in this case, but it must be based on your real costs of moving and not just an estimate.
For more information about these deductions, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.
ABSTUDY for Indigenous Students
If you’re a full-time student and an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, then you may be eligible to receive the ABSTUDY Supplement. This will cover course fees and living costs such as rent, food, and utility bills if your parents’ income is below $49,804 per year (before tax).
This is an additional payment that goes towards covering your travel costs or buying books when not covered by other financial assistance programs. You may also be able to get extra money for special needs or course-related costs.
You can apply online by visiting the ABSTUDY website. You’ll need to provide evidence of your identity, income, and course fees when applying.
Scholarship Search Engine – Scholarships for Study in Australia
Searching for scholarships is a great way to fund your education before you head off on exchange or study abroad. This website provides a searchable database of scholarships that are available for students to apply for, with information about eligibility and the application process.
You can also get advice on how to navigate the scholarship funding system from Transtutors experts.
Scholarships for International Students
International students studying abroad often rely on scholarships to help finance their studies. There are several scholarship programs available, many of which do not require you to be Australian citizenship or permanent residence to apply for them.
The University Scholarships website provides information about various scholarships that can be applied for by international students. You can apply for these awards by visiting the University Scholarships website or contacting your university directly.
You can also search for international scholarships on the Scholarship Search Engine – International Students Scholarship Database. Some of them have been specifically designed with students from certain countries in mind. This scholarship search engine provides a database of available international scholarships, with information about who is applying and what you need to do when applying for each one.
Student Concession Cards
Australian student concession cards offer discounts on a wide range of products and services. They may give you cheaper rates for public transport, help with paying your energy bills or provide special offers from participating businesses in Australia.
You can apply for this by visiting the Department of Human Services website. You’ll need to be an Australian resident who is studying full-time to avail of this facility.