| February 28, 2018


Students from regional and remote areas will be able to start university sooner because of changes that make it easier for them to be considered independent for student payments.

To qualify as independent for Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY Living Allowance, students from regional or remote areas must earn at least $24,836 before commencing further study.

Previously, students had to wait 18 months after leaving school before qualifying for independent payments, putting them out of studies for one and a half to two academic years.

The Coalition Government has reduced the time regional and remote students must spend earning this income, from 18 months to 14 months, allowing them to study with financial support one year after leaving high school.

Minister for Human Services Michael Kennan said the change provided a range of benefits for young people in regional and remote areas, and their communities.

“Under the new rules, students who take a gap year after Year 12 can then use that time to become independent for student payments and start university sooner,” Minister Keenan said.

“The Government recognises the importance of helping regional students transition to further studies and has committed to helping students get to university sooner.”

Federal Member for Murray, the Hon Damian Drum MP said the change would immediately impact around 3,700 regional students across Australia, with more students to benefit in the coming years.

“This change means regional and remote students can be considered independent for student payments sooner. Students from towns such as Shepparton, Echuca, Cobram, Yarrawonga, Euroa and Wedderburn will now have the ability to go to university faster,” Mr Drum said.  

“Although four months doesn’t seem like much, in the school year calendar it is massive. Students will get to uni earlier, work in their local community for a year and gain life experience and work ethic that will help in their further studies.

“During their gap year, local businesses can take advantage of the opportunity to hire motivated young staff and – because it’s only one year and not up to two years break from study – students are far more likely to continue on to university.

“Down the track, our regions will benefit when these young people return, uni degree in hand, to continue to improve our communities.”

For more information about student payments and independence rules, visit humanservices.gov.au/students.

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