Education Tax Refund (ETR) — a federal government initiative designed to aid with the cost of education for primary and secondary school students. Eligible parents and legal guardians are entitled to receive 50 per cent back on some education expenses, including items such as computers, educational software, textbooks, stationery and school-approved uniforms. The Schoolkids Bonus will replace the ETR in 2013. This will see parents receive $410 per year for each child in primary school and $820 per year for each child in secondary school — subject to eligibility.
Youth Allowance — all students aged 16 to 24 years are eligible for the federal government’s Youth Allowance. The Allowance is means-tested which means it is paid only if the student and/or their family fall below a certain income threshold. More information is available from the Department of Human Services on 13 24 90.
Other financial support schemes — students of Aboriginal descent are eligible for a range of allowances through Abstudy. The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme supports students whose home is isolated from a government school or whose specific health or educational needs cannot be met locally.
Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) — an allowance granted to students in New South Wales who live in an isolated area and need to move away from home (boarding) in order to obtain a secondary education. In 2012, the LAFHA grant sat at $1320, with students also eligible for a bonus allowance of $309.
Boarding Scholarship for Isolated Students (BSIS) — similar to LAFHA, this program is an equity provision for rural New South Wales students who need to gain access to specialist government high schools. This scholarship was worth $4410 in 2012.
Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) — an initiative that assists eligible students with disabilities in travelling to and from school (a maximum of two trips per day). Transport is arranged for students who are enrolled in special schools of in classes for students who are mobility dependent. To check if your child is eligible, please visit www.schools.nsw.gov.au.
Living Away From Home Allowances Scheme (LAFHAS) — assistance is granted to students who must board away from home in order to obtain a secondary education in Queensland. This is due to either living in a geographically-isolated area or not being able to have reasonable daily access to schooling. Students from Years 8 to 12 are entitled to up to $2161 per annum as part of this scheme.
Textbook and Resources Allowance — The Queensland Department of Education and Training offers assistance to parents of secondary school students to contribute to the cost of textbooks and other learning resources. Families of students in Years 8 to 10 are entitled to $111 per student per annum. The allowance rate increases to $242 per student per annum in Years 11 and 12.
Education Maintenance Allowance — schools may assist some students and their parents with expenses through the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). The school principal or bursar can answer queries about eligibility. The EMA is designed to help meet the costs of primary or secondary schooling for students (up to the age of 16 years) from low-income families. In 2013, the allowance is $200 per year for Prep students and $150 per year for all other primary school students. Allowances for secondary students sit at $300 per year for Year 7 students and $250 per year for all other year levels. Note that applications must be in on time — there is one deadline in February and a second in August.
The School Start Bonus, a $300 bonus for parents with a child beginning Prep or Year 7, was discontinued in 2012.