The Federal Government has announce a suite of changes to the Youth Allowance scheme aimed at better catering for students from regional students.


Under the changes, Inner Regional students will be able to access independent Youth Allowance under the same rules that currently apply to Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote areas.


The changes now mean that from 1 January next year, eligible regional students will now be able to apply for a Relocation Scholarship of $4000 for the first year of study, $2000 for the second and a further $1000 for any subsequent years.


The Review was part of the agreement to secure passage of the 2010 student income support reforms and delivers on an agreement between the Government and the Australian Greens for an independent review to be conducted.


Figures released by the Federal Government show:


  • many more students from low and middle income families are accessing dependent Youth Allowance – an increase of 21 342 students; 
  • many more students are taking advantage of the lowering of the age of independence from 25 to 23 – an increase of 29 441 students;
  • fewer students are accessing Youth Allowance through the independent workforce criterion – a decrease of 26 141 students;
  • overall, the number of students accessing Youth Allowance is up from 135 000 to 160 000 – an increase of 18% in just more than a year.


New expenditure in the Youth Allowance scheme will be offset from within the program, through:

  • wind-up of the Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund;
  • deferral of the measure to extend Youth Allowance eligibility for Masters by Coursework students from 1 January 2012 until 1 January 2014; 
  • reducing the value of Start-Up Scholarships to $2050 from 1 January 2012; and
  • reducing the value of Relocation Scholarships for non-regional students to $4000 in the first year living away and $1000 in subsequent years from 1 January 2012.