Federal Attorney-General and Member for Barton, Robert McClelland, today announced that more students will be eligible to receive Youth Allowance as a result of the changes the Rudd Government plans to make to student income support arrangements.
Mr McClelland said “around 68 000 more students will be able to access Youth Allowance in 2010 and almost 35 000 existing recipients will benefit from an increase to their payment as a result of changes to the parental income test.”
“Many students who were previously forced to gain eligibility through the old independence criterion will now be eligible to receive Youth Allowance as a result of the increases to the Parental Income Test,” said Mr McClelland.
Under the changes announced in the Budget, students from families with two children aged 19 and 21 living away from home and a combined income of almost $140 000 may now be eligible to receive Youth Allowance. Previously, students from families with two children aged 19 and 21 living away from home and a combined income of around $75 000 were not eligible for Youth Allowance.
In addition, the Government has proposed a new Student Start-up Scholarship of $2,254 which will be paid to each student, each year they are receiving Youth Allowance. This is equivalent to around $43 per week.
Students who need to move away from home to study may also be eligible for the new Relocation Scholarship of $4000 in the first year of study and $1000 each year following.
This will be on top of the Student Start-Up Scholarship meaning that students who receive the Relocation Scholarship will receive $6254 in the first year and $3254 in subsequent years in scholarships alone.
Previously, the number of Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships were capped which meant many rural and regional students missed out on this much needed support. Under our new arrangements numbers will not be capped and all students who meet the eligibility requirement will be able to receive support.
To fund these measures, the workforce participation criteria for independence under Youth Allowance will be tightened in line with the recommendations of the Bradley Review.
The Bradley Review of Higher Education found that the current student income support arrangements failed to support students adequately and was poorly targeted. It found 36 percent of students on Youth Allowance who are living at home are in households with incomes above $100,000.
Students who have worked full-time for a minimum of 30 hours a week on average for at least 18 months in a two-year period since leaving school will still be considered independent but students who have undertaken part time work or earned over $19,532 over 18 months will not.
“The Rudd Government’s changes to the student income support system will ensure we expand access to support and better support those students who need it most,” said Mr McClelland.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sophie Morgan (02) 9585 9100