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Government assistance

Money

National

Schoolkids Bonus: This is a federal government initiative designed to help with the cost of education for primary and secondary school students. Eligible parents and legal guardians are entitled to receive $410 per year for each child in primary school and $820 per year for each child in secondary school. To be eligible, you must be receiving the Family Tax Benefit Part A for a dependent child. The Schoolkids Bonus replaced the Education Tax Refund scheme in 2013. For more information, see the Department of Human Services website.

Youth Allowance: All students aged 16 to 24 years, including apprentices and trainees, 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. It may also be paid in circumstances where the student is considered independent or needs to live away from home to study.

Other financial support schemes:

  • The ABSTUDY allowance scheme supports students of Aboriginal or Torrest Strait Islander descent who are enrolled in an approved course or apprenticeship and who are not receiving any other government assistance to study. ABSTUDY is designed to help with costs relating to education, accommodation, living, travel fares and prescription medicine. Payment rates depend on factors such as study load (full time or part time) and age.
     
  • The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme supports students whose home is isolated from a local government school or whose specific health or educational needs cannot be met locally. Students who are boarding may also qualify for the Additional Boarding Allowance.

New South Wales

Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA): The LAFHA is an allowance granted to students in New South Wales who live in an isolated area and need to move away from home in order to obtain a secondary education. In 2014, the LAFHA grant is $1394, with Year 11 and 12 students also eligible for a bonus allowance of $327 if they are geographically isolated from the nearest government school.

Boarding Scholarship for Isolated Students (BSIS):  Similar to LAFHA, the Boarding Scholarship for Isolated Students (BSIS) is an equity provision for rural New South Wales secondary school students whose family has a low income, whose geographic location severely affects access to secondary schooling and whose cirsumtances require that they board away from home to attend a government school. In 2014, this scholarship is valued at $4660. To be eligible, students must not be receiving the Assistance for Isolated Children allowance, Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY.

Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP): This is 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 or in classes for students who are mobility dependent. To check if your child is eligible, visit the NSW Public Schools website. 

Queensland

Living Away From Home Allowances Scheme (LAFHAS): This 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 having reasonable daily access to schooling. The scheme is made up of four components: the Remote Area Tutition Allowance (RTuA), the Remote Area Travel Allowance (RTrA), the Remote Area Allowance (RAA) and the Remote Area Disability Supplement (RADS). The RTuA is paid directly to the boarding schools to offset school tuition fee accounts, while the other components are paid directly to applicants. Each component has a separate payment. See the Queensland Department of Education and Training website for more information.

Textbook and Resources Allowance: This is an assistance scheme offered to parents of secondary school students to contribute to the cost of textbooks and other learning resources. In 2014, families of students in Years 8 to 10 are entitled to $115 per student per annum. The allowance rate increases to $250 per student per annum in Years 11 and 12. See the Queensland Department of Education and Training website for more information.

Victoria

Education Maintenance Allowance: The government assists eligible government school 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 available in 2014, but will be discontinued in 2015. It 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. For primary students, the EMA amount in 2014 is $200 for Prep students and $150 for all other primary students. For secondary students, it is $300 for Year 7 students and $250 for all other secondary students per year. The EMA is paid directly to parents in two instalments: the first instalment of 70 per cent of the total amount is paid from March onwards, and the remaining 30 per cent is paid from August onwards. Note that applications must be submitted to schools on time — there is one deadline in February and a second in August.

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