Students from regional and remote areas will be able to start university sooner due to 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 beginning further study.
Previously, students had to wait 18 months after leaving school before qualifying for independent payments, putting them out of studies for up 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 about 3700 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.’’
●For more information about student payments and independence rules, visit humanservices.gov.au/students