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:
Youth Allowance :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.
AuStudy : 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tax Deductions : 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.
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