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5.6 Students

The department provides payments to full-time students whose earning potential is limited because of their studies.

The department administers the following payments to students:

  • Youth Allowance (Student Program)
  • Austudy
  • the Pensioner Education Supplement.

Youth Allowance (Student Program)

Youth Allowance (Student Program) is an income support payment for full‑time students and Australian Apprentices, generally aged between 16 and 24 years. Youth Allowance customers need to meet income and assets tests and residency requirements.

In 2018–19, the department finalised approximately 213,000 Youth Allowance (Student Program) claims, compared with approximately 170,000 in 2017–18.


ABSTUDY provides a means‑tested allowance and other supplementary benefits to eligible Indigenous students.

In 2018–19, the department administered $34.4 million in ABSTUDY travel and finalised approximately 30,000 ABSTUDY claims, compared with $31.9 million in ABSTUDY travel and 32,000 finalised claims in 2017–18.

ABSTUDY claimants can provide an over‑the‑phone verbal declaration of their claim, removing the need for a paper‑based signed declaration form. In 2018–19, around 74 per cent of ABSTUDY claims were accepted over the phone through a staff‑assisted service.

Saddling up with NRL Cowboys House

Three adolescent students (probably indigenous Australians) in a manual arts workshop working with wood and glue on a work bench

The department works with many organisations and programs that help Indigenous customers and communities. An example of this is the department’s relationship with the National Rugby League (NRL) Cowboys House.

NRL Cowboys House provides supported accommodation for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from some of North Queensland’s most remote and educationally disadvantaged communities, enabling them to access quality secondary education opportunities in Townsville.

The ABSTUDY program can assist with supporting them whilst they study. We also help students with any questions they may have about ABSTUDY payments or travel. The department and NRL Cowboys House will also promote the Indigenous Apprenticeship program as a potential career path for interested students.

The department has built a great relationship with NRL Cowboys House. This is important because students can need assistance with complex payment or travel issues. A quick and helpful solution can make a big difference for their studies and how well they do at school.

Support from the department and NRL Cowboys House assists these students to access quality education, creating opportunities to achieve their goals, and for their future careers.


Austudy assists full‑time students and Australian Apprentices aged 25 years or over.

In 2018–19, the department finalised approximately 55,000 new Austudy claims, compared with approximately 51,000 in 2017–18.

Pensioner Education Supplement

The Pensioner Education Supplement is available to help with ongoing study costs for recipients of some department and DVA income support payments. The supplement is available to full‑time students and, in certain circumstances, to students approved to undertake part‑time study of at least 25 per cent of a full study load.

In 2018–19, the department finalised approximately 34,000 Pensioner Education Supplement claims, compared with 43,000 in 2017–18.