10/01/2017

Regional students to gain better access to education

Students in regional areas will gain better access to education as the Coalition Government begins the roll out of its $93.4 million regional education election commitment.

From 1 January 2018, and subject to the passage of legislation, the period in which students from regional and remote areas have to earn the amount required to satisfy the workforce independence provisions for Youth Allowance (student) and ABSTUDY Living Allowance will be reduced from 18 months to 14 months.

Federal Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien today said this means students who finished Year 12 last year may be able to take advantage of the 14 month period to earn $24,042 (current rate) and be considered independent for Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.

“Importantly, young people who are considered independent may receive a higher rate of payment because their rate is not reduced based on parental income, unlike dependent recipients of Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance,” Mr O’Brien said.   

About 3,700 regional and remote students across Australia are expected to benefit from this change.  Regional and remote students will also be supported through a 50 per cent increase to the Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance and the means-tested component of ABSTUDY Group 2 School Fees Allowance.

“From 1 January 2017, the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Additional Boarding Allowance has increased by 50 per cent,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“The increase will also apply to the means-tested component of ABSTUDY Group 2 School Fees Allowance (SFA).

“This means lower income families who are geographically isolated will receive additional assistance to improve access to educational opportunities.” 

The maximum annual amount of Additional Boarding Allowance and the means-tested component of ABSTUDY Group 2 SFA will increase from $1,533 to $2,322. It will also increase the income limit at which the payment cuts out to $63,481pa.

About 1,300 people across Australia will benefit from the increase to the Additional Boarding Allowance and 3,000 people will benefit from the increased ABSTUDY Group 2 SFA.

The Additional Boarding Allowance is a means-tested supplementary payment to provide extra support for lower-income families with a secondary student who boards away from home.  This is in addition to a non-means tested Basic Boarding Allowance to contribute to the costs of boarding a student away from home.

For more information on these changes, visit: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/