If you’re struggling to make ends meet, consider seeking income support. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for any of the following financial support options.
Government Assistance for Domestic Students
The Australian Government provides several means-tested income support payments to university students. These are the main types of payments available:
- Youth Allowance - an income support payment for full-time students and apprentices aged 16-24. It’s calculated according to a daily rate and is paid in arrears, typically in fortnightly instalments. If you qualify for Youth Allowance, the amount of financial support you receive will depend on your income and assets.
- Austudy - designed to provide financial support to Australians aged over 25. Austudy is available to students and apprentices. Unlike Youth Allowance, students who receive the Austudy payment are considered independent from their parents and are not subject to the Parental Income Test, Family Assets Test and the Family Actual Means Test.
- ABSTUDY - a group of payments provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. To meet eligibility requirements, you must be:
- Of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decent.
- Currently studying full-time or undertaking an apprenticeship
- Not currently receiving another type of payment for studying or training.
Other Student Benefits
In addition to income support payments, Australian students also qualify for concession and health cards. These cards allow students to access essential services at a reduced cost. Each state and territory in Australia issues its own version of a student concession card, but they all essentially offer the same benefits, including:
- Cheaper fares on public transport
- Reduced healthcare costs
- Cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
You’ll need to provide your concession card as proof of your student status to receive these benefits.
Support for International Students
Only Australian citizens are eligible for most types of income support payments, but some financial assistance is still available to international students. Non-Australian citizens are typically required to pay their university fees upfront, unlike domestic students who can use HELP-HECS loans to cover the cost of their studies.
However, if an international student is unable to pay their fees by the deadline due to genuine financial hardship, they may be able to arrange a payment plan with their financial institution. Some Australian Government-funded scholarships are available to international students, although the availability of these scholarships will depend on the type of course you’re enrolled in. You may also be able to apply for a scholarship through your university.
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