HELP from the Government

You have done a budget, but there's still a shortfall in your finances. Don't panic. You might be entitled to a government allowance to help you in your full-time study.


The Government offers a number of allowances to help students.

Youth Allowance

Youth Allowance helps young people who are studying full time, undertaking a full-time apprenticeship, training, or looking for work.

You may be able to get Youth Allowance if you:

  • Are 16 to 21 years old and looking for full-time work or undertaking approved activities
  • Have a Year 12 Certificate or equivalent qualification (Certificate Level II or above). Otherwise, you will have to undertake study or training in order to qualify for Youth Allowance.
  • Are 18 to 24 years old and studying full-time
  • Are 16 to 24 years old and undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship


Austudy helps full-time students and apprentices aged 25 or more. You may be able to get Austudy if you are:

  • Aged 25 or more
  • Studying full-time in an approved course at an approved educational institution
  • Undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship


Abstudy can help with education costs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are studying at a secondary school, TAFE, university or other approved tertiary institution. Abstudy can also help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are undertaking an Australian apprenticeship. Abstudy can help with these costs:

  • Education
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Fares (to travel to your place of study each term or semester if you need to study away from home)
  • Prescription medicine costs

Video: Student welfare officer Stuart's money tips

Video about living on a student income

Stuart, a university and TAFE student welfare officer provides tips on living on a student income.

Transcript: Student welfare officer Stuart's money tips


FEE-HELP (Higher Education Loan Program) is an interest-free loan scheme that is available to fee-paying undergraduate and postgraduate students. There is a loan fee of 25% for FEE-HELP for undergraduate courses.

Here is an example of how it works. If you are using FEE-HELP to pay for $1000 of tuition fees, you will owe $1250. The money cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation or textbooks.

To be eligible for FEE-HELP you need to be:

  • Studying at an approved FEE-HELP provider
  • An Australian citizen or permanent humanitarian visa holder (residing in Australia for the duration of your unit or subject)
  • A permanent visa holder who is undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals, and will be resident in Australia for the duration of the study.
  • Enrolled in an eligible unit of study by the census date for that unit

Eligible students can borrow up to the FEE-HELP limit to pay their tuition fees.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) manages HELP debts and repayment schemes. Find out more on the ATO's study and training support webpage.

Video: What you need to know before applying for a HELP loan

Video about HELP loans

What should you be aware of when it comes to applying for and repaying a HELP loan?

Transcript: What you need to know before applying for a HELP loan

Work-related study

Tax deductions

Is your study or training relevant to your job? If so, you may be able to claim some of your expenses as a tax deduction. See the ATO's webpage on deductions you can claim for more details.

Paid study leave

Ask your employer if they can offer paid study leave or if they can pay for your course fees and/or other study expenses.


You may be doing on-the-job training through an apprenticeship and traineeship scheme. If your employer agrees, they will pay your wage while you get qualifications from TAFE or another training provider. The decision about who pays the cost of formal off-the-job training for Australian apprentices is made by the Fair Work Commission as it depends on the industrial arrangement or award that the apprenctice is paid under.

Australian Defence Force Academy

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) offers tax-free pay and allowances to eligible students who take on a career in the Australian Defence Force. ADFA also pays for their undergraduate or post-graduate degrees.

You can also complete an apprenticeship or traineeship at ADFA. But if you resign after your second year of study at ADFA, you have to reimburse the government for the cost of your training.


Your superannuation will decrease if you reduce your work hours to study. This is because your employer pays your super contributions based on your salary or wages. If you stop working altogether your employer super payments will also stop. This may be fine with you but you need to be aware of it.

If you hold life cover or disability cover through your super fund your coverage will stop if your employer stops making super contributions. See insurance through super for more information.

Related links

Last updated: 10 Mar 2017