Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: New independence rules benefit regional students

20 February 2018

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Students from regional and remote areas will be able to start university sooner because of 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 studies for one and a half to two academic years.

The Coalition 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.

These changes will immediately impact around 3,700 regional students across Australia, with more students to benefit in the coming years.

The Government recognises the importance of helping regional students transition to further studies and has committed to helping students get to university sooner.

For more information about student payments and independence rules, visit

Page last updated: 27 March 2018