Student allowances explained: What payments can you get?

If you’re studying full-time, you may be eligible for income support. Find out about the three main types of Centrelink payments for students, Austudy, ABSTUDY and Youth Allowance. 

A faceless person in a yellow sweater putting a coin into a piggybank

If you’re a full-time student, you may need support financially while you complete your studies.

There are three main types of student allowances available to Australian residents who are engaged in full-time study—Austudy, ABSTUDY and Youth Allowance. These payments are also available to students who are studying online.

Each of these has unique eligibility criteria and payment rates. Read on to find out more about student allowances, who is eligible and how much support you can access. 


What is Austudy?

Austudy is a financial support payment for people aged 25 and older who are full-time students in an approved course, or an Australian Apprenticeship. 

Who can get Austudy? 

To qualify for Austudy, you need to meet a few different criteria: 

  • An income test. At the time of publishing in March 2024, the total amount of Austudy you can receive is reduced when you earn over $509 per fortnight. If you earn over $1,602.50 a fortnight, the payment reduces to $0. The income test is different if you have dependents, and receiving other income support payments will also affect your access to Austudy.
  • Residence rules. You must be living in Australia, an Australian resident and physically in Australia on the day you claim to be eligible for Austudy.
  • An assets test. If you have assets, either in Australia or offshore, these can impact your Austudy eligibility. 

You will also need to be enrolled in full-time study in an approved course with an approved institution to qualify for Austudy (courses available through Open Universities Australia are approved courses).

If you need to study part-time due to sickness, injury, or because you live with a disability, you may be able to seek an exemption. Find out the full eligibility criteria on the Centrelink website

How much is Austudy? 

The amount of Austudy you’re eligible for depends on the outcomes of your income and assets tests, and is also impacted by any long-term income support payments you may have received prior to claiming Austudy. 

The basic fortnightly rates are: 

  • If you are single with no children – $639
  • If you are single with children – $806
  • If you are in a couple with no children – $639
  • If you are in a couple with children – $691.80

Can I qualify for Austudy if I study online?

Studying online won’t affect your ability to claim Austudy, if you meet all other eligibility criteria. 


What is ABSTUDY? 

ABSTUDY is a fortnightly payment that supports eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in secondary, tertiary, masters and doctorate studies and Australian Apprentices with their living costs. 

Who can get ABSTUDY? 

To be eligible for ABSTUDY, you must be enrolled in secondary, tertiary or postgraduate (masters or doctorate) studies, or an Australian Apprenticeship. You’ll need to be either studying full-time, or else with an approved concessional study load. You also need to be enrolled in an approved course

How much is ABSTUDY?

You will be assessed as either dependent or independent when claiming ABSTUDY, and this will impact your total payment amount. 

Other factors that will be assessed to determine your payment amount are:

  • Your age
  • The type of study you are enrolled in
  • Whether you’re dependent or independent, and whether or not you have a partner
  • If you have dependent children in your care
  • If you’re approved to live away from home. 

In addition, you will need to undergo an income test, and your partner and/or parents will also have to undergo income and means tests to determine your total payment amount. 

If you’re currently claiming a different income support payment, this will also impact your payment amount and eligibility. There is helpful information on the Centrelink website that can help you determine your likely payment amount. 

The maximum ABSTUDY payment rates differ based on living circumstances and if you are dependent or independent. You can find a breakdown of the payment rates on the Centrelink website

Can I qualify for ABSTUDY if I study online?

If you are studying online or via distance learning, and meet the other eligibility criteria, you can claim ABSTUDY. 

Youth Allowance

What is Youth Allowance?

Youth Allowance is financial support for students aged 24 years and under who are either in full-time study or an Australian Apprenticeship. 

Who can get Youth Allowance?

To be eligible for Youth Allowance, you will need to be either: 

  • Aged 18 to 24 and studying full time
  • Aged 16 to 17 and either studying full-time and independent or living away from home for study, or studying full-time and have completed year 12 or equivalent
  • Aged 16 to 24 and doing a full-time Australian Apprenticeship. 

You also need to meet residency rules, pass an income and assets test, and be studying an approved course/Australian Apprenticeship. 

Other criteria can also apply after you turn 25, or if you’re under 18 and studying in secondary school. Head to the Centrelink website for all of the eligibility criteria. 

How much is Youth Allowance? 

The rates for Youth Allowance are calculated on your specific circumstances, taking into account the income and assets tests, any dependents and whether you are in a relationship. 

The rates range from a minimum of $455.20 per fortnight up to $806 a fortnight and can be subject to review as your circumstances change. 

Read this breakdown of Youth Allowance payment rates

Can I qualify for Youth Allowance if I study online?

If you meet all the other eligibility criteria, and are studying an approved course, you can access Youth Allowance while studying online. 

In addition to Austudy, ABSTUDY and Youth Allowance, other financial support options may be available to you. Find out more by visiting our allowances and subsidies page

You can also book a one-on-one chat with an Open Universities Australia student advisor to ask anything you like about how study allowances work.    



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