STUDENTS will be able to start university sooner after 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 study for one and a half to two academic years.
The Federal 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.
Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum said the change would immediately impact around 3,700 regional students across Australia, with more students to benefit in the coming years.
“Students from towns such as Echuca, Cobram, Yarrawonga, Shepparton, Euroa and Wedderburn will now have the ability to go to university faster,” he said.
“Although four months doesn’t seem like much, in the school year calendar it is massive.
“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 year 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