A one-off payment of $5000 will be available for school leavers from outer regional and remote areas to pursue tertiary study from 2021.
The payment will help students to offset the costs of relocating, as part of a new package of initiatives to support regional students to undertake tertiary study.
The Tertiary Access Payment is a one-off, non-indexed, means-tested payment of $5000 to school-leavers from outer regional or remote areas to undertake full-time, higher-level tertiary education. To be eligible students need to relocate more than 90 minutes from their home.
The payment will give students an incentive to begin tertiary study immediately after completing secondary school, rather than taking a gap year in order to save money or qualify for other types of income support.
Regional and remote students are twice as likely to take a gap year than their metropolitan counterparts. Taking a gap year, or years, can contribute to lower tertiary education attainment rates, according to research cited in the National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy (Napthine Review).
Rural students will also be able to access improved financial support to return home during the midterm break, due to improvements to the Fares fare Allowance program.
The Napthine Review found that transport costs can be a major issue for students who relocate to study.
Currently, students must receive Youth Allowance, Austudy or the Pensioner Education Supplement for six months before they can access a return trip home during their first year of study. The waiting period has now been reduced from six months to three months, so students can travel home in the mid-year break in their first year.