University. How to make it happen!

How to make
it happen!
About this booklet
Pathways: Getting to your goal
Taking a year off: a ‘gap year’
Dealing with living and study costs
Scholarships: What you need to know
Youth Allowance: Useful information
Accommodation Options
Public Transport: Getting around
Ask Me… About Uni! Q & A
Web resources &
support at university
Inside back cover
Disclaimer: The information in this publication is designed as a
general guide only. The information was accurate as of March
2013. If you use this publication after that date, please check
with the corresponding organisations that the details are current
and correct. While every effort has been made to ensure that the
information is correct, the University of Ballarat cannot be held
responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on
the information contained in this publication.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
About this booklet
This booklet is intended to provide a range of useful
information – about Pathways, Scholarships, Youth
Allowance, Accommodation, Public Transport, Gap Years
and Living & Study Costs. It aims to address questions,
concerns and ‘unknowns’ you might have in these areas.
This booklet will be useful for students who haven’t yet
decided what to do after Year 12, and those that are
already interested in pursuing tertiary study. For those
that don’t think that studying at university or TAFE is
possible – it might show you that it is achievable and the
barriers are not as insurmountable as they can seem.
Initially, let’s look at a few key questions that you might
firstly be considering – do I need to go to university or
TAFE? Why should I go? And, how do I choose the
university or TAFE for me?
Ask yourself the following questions:
> What sort of job do I want?
What qualifications does it require?
Where and how can I get them?
> Will university or TAFE help me to get that job?
> Will university or TAFE improve my earning potential?
Become an expert at what you love best by studying at
university or TAFE – and then work with people who share
your interests in your dream job after you graduate!
Take the opportunity to get involved in all kinds of fun
activities – explore your talents or find new ones. E.g.
sport, student association, social events and activities
like surf trips and snow trips.
> Can I get that job without university or TAFE studies?
These are great questions to think about and doing your
research will help you find the answers.
Once you’ve made the decision to go, asking the
following questions will help you decide where to go.
> Can I do the course I want there?
University and TAFE education has a number of benefits,
such as…
On average, a new university graduate’s salary is
$51,000^, rising to over $66,000 within 4 years. This
compares well to the median earnings for all workers in
Australia, which is around $30,000*.
> Would I like to move away or stay at home?
Do I have a choice?
> Should I choose a metropolitan or regional institution?
Would I prefer a big or small campus?
> Will I get in?
Do I have the ATAR/prerequisites?
What regional student entry schemes are there?
> What support services are available?
What scholarships can I get from that uni/TAFE?
Many jobs require a tertiary qualification – and you’re
less likely to be unemployed. The unemployment rate
among the qualified (3.4%) is nearly half that of those
whose education ended when they left high school.^
> What are the costs involved?
Now – read on to find out more about tertiary study:
getting there, supporting yourself and living away
from home.
*2011 Census.
^Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as at February 2013.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Pathways: Getting to your goal
When referring to education, a pathway can be defined
as the selection/progression of courses you study to
achieve your desired qualification. In many cases you
can arrive at the same career via different qualifications
or pathways. It can be useful to match up different
pathways with your circumstances so that you can see
which study path will work best for you.
There are many reasons to plan more than one pathway
to your chosen career. For some, planning a pathway is
about saving money or plotting a good learning path. For
others, it is a way of getting around not being accepted
into your preferred course. Other reasons include:
> The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank)
required for university courses can vary from year to
year – it can be unpredictable
> Where you live – do you have to move away or can
you complete some/all of your studies close to home?
> Cost of studying – living costs, books, equipment
> Scholarship opportunities
> Prerequisites & other requirements – these can vary
between tertiary institutions and courses
> VTAC application process – VTAC enables you to
choose up to 12 preferences on your application
The following diagram shows the many possible
educational pathways from school to TAFE or university.
As you can see, there are many ways to arrive at the
same course.
*You may be able to transition from VCAL into a
Bachelor’s Degree depending on your subjects and
grades, however it is likely you will have to go through
TAFE first. Always check with you careers teacher.
Certificate I–II
( TAFE )
Secondary Schooll
(Years 10 or 11)
tifi t III
( TAFE )
VET in Schools
tifi t IV
( TAFE )
FAST Program
or other preparatory
Bachelor’s Degree
( TAFE )
( TAFE )
Honours, Masters
Masters, Graduate Diploma
Graduate Certificate
PhD, Doctorate
(This diagram has been adapted from the University of Ballarat’s 2013/14 Course Guide).
Regional Schools Outreach Program
The following pathways are all legitimate options for becoming
a teacher. Many careers have multiple pathways to select
from, meaning it is always a good idea to research a few
different ways to get to your chosen career.
Year 12
Year 12
Bachelor of Arts*
Year 12
Bachelor of Arts
Year 12
Bachelor of Education
Masters of Education
Bachelor of
Diploma of
Children’s Services
Bachelor of
Education (2nd YEAR)
Note: Prerequisites, credits, acceptance requirements and names of courses vary between universities and TAFE
providers. In this diagram a ‘Bachelor of Arts’ is used as an example of a pathway course, however there are many
other courses that will work equally as well.
Always check with the university or TAFE before making a decision about your pathway plan, and prior to applying
for a course with the intention of using that course as a pathway.
Pathway options exist for most vocations, such
as business, health, education, humanities,
science, hospitality, information technology and
engineering. Pathways may involve studying at
TAFE (e.g. Certificate IV or Diploma level), then
moving into a Bachelor’s degree at university; or
starting one Bachelor’s degree and transferring
into another. Graduate Diplomas are another way
to obtain an additional university qualification in a
new area after completing a Bachelor’s degree.
A number of alternative pathway options may enable you to
get into the course that you want:
> Wait until mid-year entry – sometimes the entry
requirements are different
> Apply to a number of providers offering similar courses
> Apply directly to the provider
> Repeat your VCE studies in order to improve your ATAR
> Consider an employer who encourages further study or
training e.g. defence forces
For pathways information, including publications,
courses and entry requirements, contact the
university and/or TAFE that you are interested in,
visit their website, or discuss your options and
interests with your careers advisor.
> Complete some work experience to demonstrate your
interest in a field of study, and then try again
> Undertake an Open Universities Australia course
> Undertake bridging/preparation/foundation courses such
as the FAST Program
> Accept a less desirable course and then transfer, if possible
> Take some time out and re-apply as a mature age student
This information was sourced from, & from individual university websites.
Information was correct as of February 2013, however please check again prior to applying for any course.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Taking a year off: a ‘gap year’
Overseas working holidays:
Placement into work, training & study overseas:
Youth Central:
Global Volunteering for 18–25 year olds:
A ‘gap year’ is a year between finishing Year 12 and
commencing further education or training, usually spent
on other activities such as work, travel or volunteering.
Many students take a gap year, but it is important to be
doing it for a reason. A gap year is not for everyone, and
if you’re not careful it can have a negative effect on your
future studies.
> You want to make some money before going to
university or TAFE
> You’re not sure what you want to do in the future
> You don’t get into the course you really want to do
Taking a gap year may allow you to develop work skills,
gain life experience, or earn money to assist with living
or study costs while you’re at university. It might also
help you qualify for Youth Allowance as an independent –
though this will depend on a number of criteria. See the
Youth Allowance section of this booklet for more
For those of you who are going to complete your year 12
there is good news! You are likely to earn $330,000 more
in your lifetime than someone who has not completed
year 12. Furthermore those who go on to complete an
undergraduate degree will earn approximately $2.9
million over their working life, that’s over $1,000,000
more than someone who didn’t finish year 12!
However, if you take a gap year you may lose motivation
to study by being away from formal education or you
could be seduced by earning money straight away. Just
remember though that those who go on to university
earn significantly more in the long term, have better
working conditions, and are less likely to be unemployed.
> You want a break from studying
> You want to gain skills and experience to get
into a course
> You want to get some life experience or travel before
commencing study
> You may lose touch with your skills
> You may lose motivation
> Depending on what you choose to do in your gap
year it could be quite expensive
> If you decide to work you may be seduced by the
money in the short term
> Overseas working holidays
> Placement into work, training & study overseas
> Getting a job closer to home
> Volunteering
Differences in lifetime earnings
$ 3,500,000
$ 3,000,000
$ 2,500,000
$ 2,000,000
$ 1,500,000
$ 1,000,000
$ 500,000
Non-Year 12
Year 12 University Graduate
Set a budget and stick to it: it’s important not to
overspend or waste your hard-earned savings.
Don’t forget why you’re doing it: if you’re saving
money for university – then save money for university!
Make a plan and stick to it: it’s easy to lose track of
your goals if you haven’t got a plan in place.
Establish if you are going to develop personally or
professionally: make sure whatever you are doing,
whether it’s volunteering in a third-world country or working
on a farm, you’re getting something of value out of it.
This information was sourced from, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling
(NATSEM) 2012 & individual university websites. Information was correct as of February 2013, however please check
again prior to planning any gap year.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Dealing with living and study costs
While you’ll need to budget and plan for study and living
costs before and during your tertiary education, the main
thing to keep in mind is that it is affordable, and not as
scary as what you might think.
Your course fees will depend on the course, university
and subjects you choose. Fees may change from year to
year, so check with individual universities.
Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) – Currently,
CSP fees for a full time study load are between $5868
and $9,792 per year of study – depending on the course.
But wait! The good news is you don’t have to pay a
single cent of this until you’re earning a good salary. By
using HECS-HELP, you start paying the cost of your
course back when you earn more than $49,095
(2012–2013) in a year, or you can make extra repayments
whenever you like.
Fee paying places – these have been phased out for
domestic university students, apart from in some private
universities. Unless you plan to study at a private
university, you don’t need to worry.
You’ll also need to plan for other study-related costs.
> Student Amenities Fee – This fee is charged by
higher education providers to fund student services
such as food, sports and recreation, childcare,
counselling, legal, health, housing and employment.
In 2013, the student amenities fee is $273 (always
double check with your chosen university) per year
for a full time student. However you can choose to
defer this payment through the HECS-HELP scheme.
> Resources – Allow money for text books, computer,
internet, equipment or other extras required by your
course – e.g. if part of your course is in the
workplace, you may need a name badge, police
check and/or appropriate clothing. Excursions can
also cost money.
You’ll need to plan for living costs as well – meals,
mobile phone, shopping, entertainment and maybe
accommodation and its associated expenses – such as
power bills and bond.
> Plan your meals and shop at discounted
supermarkets – avoid impulse buying.
> Have a set amount aside each week for
entertainment – you want to have a social life, but
don’t blow the budget!
> Get a Centrelink health care card to access discounts
on a variety of living costs. Refer to page 9 for more
information on health care cards.
> Travel costs also need to be planned for – you’ve got
to get around, and public transport is a cheap option
– see the information in this booklet.
> Avoid using a credit card.
> Part-time work (in moderation) is an option, and
universities will be able to help you find a job. You
can earn up to $407.50 per fortnight without your
Youth Allowance being affected. Generally it is
recommended that a full time university student
works no more than 6–10 hours per week.
> Scholarships and Centrelink benefits can also help.
See the relevant sections in this booklet.
> Create your own budget at
or alternatively you can download the
‘TrackMySPEND’ app. As you’ll have a limited
income, it’s really important to plan carefully and
manage your expenditure.
This information was sourced from & individual university websites. Information was correct as
of February 2013, however please check again prior to planning or budgeting.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Scholarships: What you need to know
Scholarships can help directly with the costs of studying,
or assist with accommodation and living expenses.
Scholarships may be particularly helpful if you:
> need to move away from home to study
> are experiencing financial hardship
> could use some extra assistance
A scholarship may take the form of money, study
resources (computers, books, etc), or subsidised fees or
services. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay a
scholarship back.
Not all scholarships are based on achievement –
there are many different types of scholarships for
students applying to go to university or TAFE. Some are
aimed at students who have to move to study, others for
students experiencing financial hardship, whilst others
are based on academic, community or sporting merit.
Scholarships can be broadly categorised as:
> Federal Government Student Income Support
> University Scholarships (including Equity &
Course/Academic scholarships)
> Community & Corporate Scholarships
Student Income Support Scholarships for university
students include Student Start-Up Scholarships for
students experiencing financial hardship, Relocation
Scholarships for students who need to relocate for
university study and Indigenous Access, Education
Costs and Accommodation Costs Scholarships for
Indigenous students.
> Student Start-Up Scholarships are worth $1,025 per
semester in 2013 (indexed yearly) and are available in
the first year of study and subsequent years to those
on Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy. The
Start-Up Scholarship is designed to provide
assistance to university students for up-front costs of
text books and specialised equipment. These are
paid twice yearly at the beginning of each semester.
> Relocation Scholarships are available to students
on dependent Youth Allowance/ABSTUDY (Living
Allowance) who need to move away from home to
study, and are paid in a lump sum once a year.
In 2013, students whose family home is in an area
classified as Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote
or Very Remote Australia will receive:
$4,048 in the the first year they are required to
move away from home,
$2,024 in the second and third years and
$1,012 in the fourth and any subsequent years
away from home
Students whose family home is NOT classified as
being in any of the above categories will receive:
$4,048 in the first year they are required to
move away from home and
$1,012 in subsequent years
You can find out what classification your home is in
by going to
These scholarships are administered by Centrelink.
To receive these scholarships you must be a full-time
university student.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
For the Relocation scholarship you do not need to make
a separate application. When you claim a Centrelink
payment, you eligibility is assessed at the same time.
Continuing students who qualify for a Relocation
Scholarship should receive their scholarship with the first
payment they receive after the 24th of February in the
study year.
University Equity Scholarships usually have similar
criteria to the Student Income Support Scholarships, but
you apply for these through the university. The values of
these scholarships vary, and may also include practical
items such as computers, rather than money.
If you are Indigenous or from a drought-affected area
there may be additional university Equity Scholarships
that you can apply for.
Students receiving an equity or merit based scholarship/s
up to $7223 are exempt from the Centrelink income test.
This means that these scholarships have less of an
impact on your fortnightly Centerlink payment. The
$7223 applies to the total amount of eligible scholarships
that you recieve – not to each scholarship. The amount is
indexed each year.
Individual faculties or courses offer a variety of
scholarships, and the values of these range from a few
hundred dollars to more than $20,000. Generally either a
high ATAR or a relevant form of community service is
required. An interview or extra information may be
requested. Be sure to check with the individual faculty or
course coordinator for eligibility requirements.
Scholarships based purely on academic merit are usually
awarded on ATAR alone. You may be automatically
considered for these scholarships when you apply
through VTAC, however for some scholarships you need
to apply through the university.
A one-off payment of $4,485 (indexed yearly), are
available to Indigenous students in their first year of
university study, who are on income support from
Centrelink or otherwise assessed as having low income.
Indigenous Education Costs Scholarships of $2,377
per annum and Indigenous Accommodation Costs
Scholarships of $4,754 per annum, both for up to four
years and indexed annually are also available. These
scholarships are administered by universities.
There are a wide variety of scholarships for university
and TAFE students available from community
organisations and corporate businesses.
The application methods vary greatly and may include
essays, public speaking, forms and/or portfolio
These scholarships provide money, internships,
accommodation, travel support or other forms of
assistance. Examples of organisations that provide such
scholarships include Victorian Healthcare Association
(VHA), Rural Finance, Rotary Club and the Bendigo and
Adelaide Bank. More information can be found by going
to universities websites. In conjunction, is a great resource for scholarship
information. Simply go to the website, click on ‘The
Facts’ tab and navigate down to ‘Funding’ and ‘Awards
and Scholarships’. Here there are 400+ scholarships
available for students applying to go to university.
For Federal Government Student Income Support
Scholarships, you do not need to apply separately –
Centrelink will automatically pay you if you’re eligible.
Check with Centrelink when applying for your Youth
Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY, or go to, visit a Centrelink office, or
phone Centrelink on 13 24 90.
> Always check the criteria for each scholarship you
are applying for
> Check the closing dates!
> VTAC applications open in August and close late
September for scholarships administered through
VTAC. See the VTAC guide and VTAC’s Access and
Equity Scholarships guide
> For some scholarships you apply direct to the
university, in these instances the time frame may be
> Double check the closing dates! As many
organisations that offer scholarships will not even
look at a late application, so you may miss out!
Many scholarships require you to complete either an online or hardcopy application, and can include some
supporting documentation. Make sure that you have
satisfied the eligibility criteria as best you can. Most
equity scholarships will require Centrelink details.
This information was sourced from, & individual university scholarship
websites. Information was correct in February 2013, however please check information before applying for any course or
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Youth Allowance: Useful information
Youth Allowance provides financial assistance for young
people who are studying full-time, undertaking a full-time
Australian Apprenticeship or training and/or looking for
work. It may also provide assistance for young people
who are ill or temporarily incapacitated.
Depending on your eligibility you may be able to get
Youth Allowance while still completing secondary school.
Once you finish Year 12, as soon as you meet the
eligibility criteria, either as a dependent (based on your
parent’s financial status under the Parental Means Test),
or as an independent (see the independence criteria) you
will be able to claim Youth Allowance. Start by
contacting Centrelink to signal your intent to claim and to
assess your eligibility. You must submit your Youth
Allowance claim form within 14 days of first making
contact with Centrelink and, if you are eligible, your
payment will usually be back-dated to the date of your
first contact. There are some circumstances where your
payment may start later – contact Centrelink for more
The amount of Youth Allowance you receive depends on
> you, your parents’/guardians’ or your partner’s
income and assets are above a certain amount;
You may get Youth Allowance if you are:
> you are independent;
> 16 to 21 years old and looking for full-time work or
undertaking approved activities such as a
preparatory course for tertiary education, some
language, literacy and numeracy courses, schoolbased apprenticeship or traineeship; or
> you have to live away from your permanent home
to study;
> 18 to 24 years old and studying an approved course
full-time (for a full list check the Centrelink website
but includes courses such as secondary school,
TAFE, as well as higher education); or
> if you have a large family.
> 16 to 24 years old and undertaking a full-time
Australian Apprenticeship; or
> 15 years of age if Centrelink considers you to be
> you have a partner;
> you have children; and/or
Note: if you are under 18 years of age, your payment will
usually go to one of your parents. You will need to inform
Centrelink which parent is to receive your payment.
The table below shows the maximum fortnightly
payments for Youth Allowance in February 2013,
however your payment may be less depending on how
you meet the above criteria.
Single with no children, under 18 years and living at home:
Single with no children, under 18 years and NOT living at home:
Single with no children, 18 years and over and living at home:
Single with no children, 18 years and over and NOT living at home:
To get an estimate of Youth Allowance benefits for
your circumstances, visit the online calculator by
searching for ‘Online Estimators’ at the Centrelink
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Distance Education students may be eligible for Fares
Allowance for one return trip during the study year if they
have to attend a compulsory residential component of
their course.
The Start-Up Scholarship is designed to provide
assistance to university students for up-front costs of
text books and specialised equipment. The Relocation
Scholarship provides assistance for university students
who need to move away from home to study. See the
Scholarships section in this booklet for more information.
You may be able to receive an Advance Payment or a
Special Employment Advance on your Youth Allowance
of up to $500. This is ‘paid back’ by deductions from your
Youth Allowance payments.
For more information about benefit entitlements see
the Centrelink website or call 13 24 90.
If you depend on your parents financially, but have to live
away from home to look for work or while you are
training, studying or undertaking an Australian
Apprenticeship, you may be able to receive the Away
From Home rate. This is a higher amount of Youth
Allowance. If you are considered independent you may
receive this rate if you are not living with your parents.
For Youth Allowance, full-time study means:
As well as Youth Allowance, if you live away from home and
pay rent you may be eligible to receive Rent Assistance.
The maximum amount of Rent Assistance is $121.00 per
fortnight if you live by yourself, or a maximum of $80.67
per fortnight if you share accommodation with others
(amount indexed twice yearly).
> your course and study load is considered full-time by
the institution where you are studying, or
> you are doing at least 75 per cent of the full-time
workload, or
> if none of these apply, you are undertaking at least 15
contact hours of study per week.
You may also be considered a full-time student if studying
at least 66% of the normal full-time workload because:
> this is the institution’s normal requirements for the
course, or
> you have a specific direction in writing from your
deputy principal, academic registrar or equivalent
officer, or
Low Income Health Care Card holders are entitled to:
> State and Local Government concessions such as
health care costs e.g. ambulance, dental and eye
care; public transport; water rates; energy and
electricity bills;
> you have a written recommendation from your deputy
principal, academic registrar or equivalent officer for
academic or vocational reasons.
> Commonwealth health concessions;
For Youth Allowance, an approved combination of parttime study and other activities means:
> concessions offered by private companies, for
example local cinemas;
> you have a study load less than 75 per cent of a fulltime workload, and
> reduced cost of medicines under the Pharmaceutical
Benefits Scheme (PBS).
> you need to enter an Employment Pathway Plan and
undertake other activities to make up a full-time
workload (for example Job Search).
If you are a tertiary student and you have to live away
from your permanent home to study you may be eligible
for Fares Allowance. Fares Allowance helps with the cost
of travel from your home to your educational institution
to start your course, and from your educational
institution to your home when you finish or discontinue
studies for the year. You may also be entitled to Fares
Allowance for one return trip between your educational
institution and your home during the study year.
If you are studying at a tertiary level, you will need to
finish your course within the allowable time for the
course you are doing (as stipulated by the institution).
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Youth Allowance is a payment to assist you while you are
studying, training or looking for work. If you do not meet
your study requirements, other activity test requirements
or attend an interview when requested to do so by either
Centrelink or your education provider, your payments
may stop.
The Parental Means Test does not apply when:
> you are independent (see below); or
> your parents receive income support payments from
the Australian Government to support your family; or
> your parents are receiving Exceptional
Circumstances Relief Payment (ECRP); or
> either parent has a Health Care Card.
The Parental Means Test measures whether your parents
can financially support you while you are a student or
looking for work, and helps determine your eligibility and
rate of dependent Youth Allowance. The Parental Means
Test has three parts:
If your Youth Allowance is assessed under the Parental
Means Test, your parents’ income will be reassessed
> Family Assets Test
The Family Assets Test takes into account personal,
business and farm assets. The test is based on how
much your family would receive for the assets if they
sold them, less any debts or mortgages they owe. A
75% discount is applied to business and farm assets.
No payment can be made if your family’s assets
exceed $627,000. If you are unsure of wether you are
eligible, always check with Centrelink.
Parental income includes:
your parents’ combined taxable income;
child support;
the value of employee fringe benefits they receive;
any income from a country other than Australia; and
business losses (including negatively geared
property and shares).
If your parents’ taxable income for the 2011–2012
financial year is $47,815 or less, your payments will
not be affected by the income test. If you are unsure
always check with Centrelink
> you are aged 22 years or more and a full-time student
or Australian Apprentice; or
> have supported yourself through employment
Generally to be considered independent you have
supported yourself through full-time paid employment
for at least 18 months within any two year period.
You do not need to work for 18 consecutive months,
or in the same job. Full-time employment means that
you have worked for an average of at least 30 hours
per week throughout the 18 months. Use the check
independence through work history link on the
Centrelink website; or
> are legally married or in a registered relationship; or
> are living in a de facto relationship with another person
as a member of a couple for at least 12 months; or
> have a dependent child;
> it is unreasonable for you to live at home because:
there is extreme family breakdown, or
The Family Actual Means Test measures what some
families spend and save over a certain amount of
time, that is, their actual means. The Family Actual
Means Test only applies if one or both of your
parents in the previous financial year:
there is a serious risk if you continue to live in the
parental home, or
you are consistently deprived of basic necessities
such as food, water, clothing, power, shelter or
sleep, or
were self-employed or a partner in a partnership; or
have claimed a business loss, or
your health and well-being are seriously threatened
by drug or alcohol abuse, criminal or illegal
activities or there is violence in the home, or
have an interest in a trust, private company or
unlisted public company; or
your parent/s are unable to provide a suitable home
because they lack stable accommodation; or
are business migrants; or
have foreign income or assets worth $2500 or more.
If you can demonstrate you are independent of your
family, the Parental Means Test will not apply to you. You
are considered independent if:
Regional Schools Outreach Program
> you are a refugee, an orphan, or are (or have been) in
state care; or
> your parent/s are unable to exercise their parental
responsibilities because they are in a nursing home,
are mentally incapacitated, cannot be located or are
in prison; or
> you are aged 18 and over, and have a work history
but are experiencing disadvantage in education or
Students from areas classified as inner regional, outer
regional, remote and very remote can be assessed as
independent if, since leaving secondary school, they:
> have earned at least 75 per cent of Wage Level A of
the National Training Wage Schedule included in a
modern award in an 18 month period. This equates
to $21,618^ as of February 2013; or
> have worked part-time (at least 15 hours per week)
for at least two years.
To be assessed as independent under these
arrangements, you must be a full-time student and must
need to move away from home in order to study.
It is also a requirement that your parents earned less
than $150,000 in the base tax year
The Australian Bureau of Statistics determines whether
an area is considered to be regional or remote. Find out
which area your family home is in using the ASGC-RA
search which can be found at
Note: in some cases you can still be considered independent,
for instance if you are particularly disadvantaged or you
have some other exceptional circumstances.
Centrelink applies the Personal Income Test each
fortnight to the amount of money you earn. If you earn
any money at all, you must tell Centrelink. You must also
tell them the hours you have worked each fortnight. As a
student or Australian apprentice on Youth Allowance you
can earn up to $405 before tax per fortnight before your
payment is affected.
The Personal Assets Test only applies if you are
independent. The assets limits will vary, depending on
whether or not you have a partner or own your home.
Youth Allowance is counted as part of taxable income.
Tax can be taken out of the payment at your request. It is
a good idea to have some tax taken out so you don’t get
caught paying back money at the end of the financial
year, while Centrelink payments are offset always consult
Centrelink or your accountant for further advice.
To make sure Centrelink pays you the correct amount of
Youth Allowance, you need to tell Centrelink within 14
days if your circumstances change.
Note: a complete list of all the things you need to tell
Centrelink is on the back of their letters to you.
If you are getting Youth Allowance and you do not tell
Centrelink if your circumstances change, then your Youth
Allowance payment may be delayed, or you may be paid
the incorrect amount. This may need to be paid back.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is
intended only as a general guide to payments and services. It is
your responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for a Centrelink
payment and to make an application, with regard to your
particular circumstances. This information was accurate in
February 2013. If you use this publication after that date, please
check with Centrelink that the details are current and correct.
The information contained within this fact sheet has been edited
for the purposes of the Regional Schools Outreach Program.
You are advised to consult Centrelink for full details as the
categories for eligibility here are not exhaustive.
This information is designed as a general guide only, and is sourced from Centrelink’s Youth Allowance Brochure and
website. Full information can be found at under the students and trainees tab.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Accommodation Options
While some students will be able to live at home while
they are studying, many will need to move away in order
to pursue tertiary education. This can be both an exciting
and daunting time for many students, and this information
will hopefully help to make the transition easier. Being
organised and planning early is the first step to enjoying
life away from home.
There are a number of options, each with their own pros
and cons. Regardless of where you are living, you’ll need
to factor in entertainment and ancillary costs – those little
things that just spring up – like snacks and phone bills.
Living in university residences is a common choice for
many students who move away from home to study –
being close to classes, social activities and support
services. Internet, cleaners and power costs are usually
included in the accommodation costs, and common
areas are cleaned regularly. Depending on where you
study, you will have the option to self-cater or have some
or all meals supplied. There are a number of employment
opportunities available for students living on-campus, as
well as sporting and social activities. As places in oncampus accommodation generally fill up quickly, you will
often have to apply before you receive a course offer.
Refer to individual university websites for their particular
timelines. Generally you will live on-campus for the
majority of the year, but will need to move out over
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Run by the university, these are fairly similar to on-campus
accommodation, except they are usually located in a
nearby suburb. You will usually be living with fewer people
but, as with on-campus accommodation, utilities are
included in your overall fees. You will generally need to
buy and prepare your own meals. Application methods
are usually the same as for on-campus accommodation.
Renting through a real estate agent is fairly common
among students, as it can be cheaper in some locations.
Renting gives you more freedom but also a bit more
responsibility than living on-campus. You’ll need to
factor in a bond, gas and electricity, telephone, utilities
connection, bills and furnishing. There may also be
greater transport costs if you are living some distance
from the university. Also, rent needs to be paid for 52
weeks of the year, whereas you would go home over the
holidays if living on-campus – and not pay
accommodation fees during that time. Choosing good
housemates is important to ensure a pleasant
experience. The Department of Human Services may be
able to assist with providing bond assistance.
You may be able to board with relatives or a family
referred by the university, which is often a cheap and
straightforward option. Meals and utilities are usually
factored into your board. However, it is important to
respect the family you are living with and it can be
difficult to establish a social network as quickly as if you
were living on-campus. Boarding privately often allows
you to commit more time to study than if you were
renting or living on-campus with other students.
Living in on-campus or university managed housing can
range between $150–$350 per week, depending on the
university and the facilities provided. Renting privately
can cost from $80–$150 per week per person, depending
on location and number of people sharing the rent. You
will also need to factor in groceries, utilities and set-up
fees on top of that cost. The cost of private board can
vary, depending on the location, family and facilities
provided. The best thing you can do is budget, work out
what assistance you can get, and decide what sort of
accommodation is going to suit you best socially and
budgeting is a fantastic resources and provides up to
date information and useful tips for manging your money.
There is also a free app available for iPhone and Android
phones, ‘Track My SPEND’, which is useful in setting up
a budget and seeing where you are spending money and
where you might be able to save. The ASG publication
‘How to survive Uni & TAFE without living on two-minute
noodles’ is also a good source of information, and can
be found at:
There are a number of sources of financial assistance
which can help greatly in paying for accommodation.
While living away from home can be expensive, there are
ways to do it.
As mentioned previously in this booklet the Federal
Government offers Relocation Scholarships (see page 6
for more information) for those students who need to
move away from home to study.
There are also hundreds of scholarships on offer from
many different universities. It is worth looking at the
universities websites you would like to go to for more
information as well as registering for scholarships with
your VTAC registration and search
for even more scholarship options.
Always apply for as many as you can, as every year
scholarships go unused as no-one applies for them!
Even if you think you are an outside chance - APPLY!
See pages 8–11 for more information or visit the
Centrelink website
Working part-time can help supplement your living and
accommodation costs – university employment services
are a good spot to start looking. However, make sure
that you can balance work, study and social life –
generally 6–12 hours per week of work is the maximum
In some cases, your family may have money put aside to
support you in your studies, or be able to lend you funds
to help pay upfront costs.
There is a wide variety of support available when you are
living on-campus at a university. Most residences will
have existing students as mentors or advisors who can
offer advice, answer questions and get you settled in to
the day-to-day life of living on-campus. There will also
be accommodation staff available to help out with
enquiries and refer you on if need be. You are also close
to university support services such as counselling,
employment services, financial advice, academic
support/tutoring, disability support, Indigenous
education services and campus health clinics. Most
universities can also offer student loans which may also
help with some of your day-to-day costs.
By living on-campus, you have a ready made social
network, which can be really useful when you are feeling
homesick or just need someone to talk to while having a
break from study. The important thing is to maintain a
healthy balance between study, social life and any parttime work you may decide to take on.
Ask Me...About Uni! is a fantastic new service which
offers high school students a chance to ask current
University of Ballarat students anything they would like
to know about university life, accommodation,
scholarships, and support services. If you have any
questions you would like to ask simply go to and submit your question!
It’s a good idea to check out the accommodation
websites of universities you are interested in, speak to
current and former residents, and speak with
accommodation staff. Open Days are a good source of
information and are a great way to have a look at your
options. Remember open days are not just for year 12
students! If you are considering renting privately,
Consumer Affairs Victoria
( is a good source of
information. Universities may be able to refer you to
families looking for boarders. Furthermore, the ASG
publication ‘How to Survive Uni and TAFE’ is an excellent
general ‘moving out’ resource.
This information was sourced from & individual university websites. Information was correct as of
February 2013, however please check again prior to applying for any course/accommodation service.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Public Transport: Getting around
Concession travel costs around half the full fare and is
available for most fare types. You can travel with a
concession ticket if you are aged 16 years or younger, or
carry an approved Victorian Concession Card.
These include:
Public Transport Victoria:
or 1800 800 007
Myki: or 136 954 (13 MYKI:
information about Myki – Victoria’s new ticketing system)
Myki is a new payment
system that has been
rolled out, replacing
Metcard on Melbourne
trams, trains and buses, and tickets on Ballarat,
Geelong, Bendigo, Seymour, Warragul and Latrobe
Valley bus services. Other ticketing systems are still in
place outside of these areas and in some cases operate
alongside Myki.
> Victorian Public Transport (VPT) Student
Concession Card: A VPT Concession Card is for
Primary, Secondary and Tertiary students who are
ineligible for a Centrelink Health Care Card. You can
apply for this card by completing the 2013 Victorian
Public Transport (VPT) Student Concession Card and
Student Pass Application Form found online at or at some stations. There is a $9
per year application fee, and you will need to provide
a passport styled photo.
Available for eligible primary, secondary and
tertiary students.
You must be studying full-time and attending an
eligible school, university or other tertiary
institution. Most are included, but check the VPT
website for details. You must also be a citizen or
permanent Australian resident.
Student identity cards issued by schools and
tertiary institutions do not entitle you to student
concessions on public transport.
Myki will be progressively rolled out in 2013 on V/line
trains from Melbourne - Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo,
Seymour and the Latrobe Valley. Keep visiting the Public
Transport Victoria website for updates.
Reusable Myki cards are pre-purchased online, over the
phone, and at some retail outlets, mobile discovery
centres and stations (the cards themselves are $3 for
student concession holders) or $6 for full fare travelers.
Myki Money and Pass (types of credit) are ‘loaded’ onto
your Myki card electronically like phone credit. ‘Myki
Money’ is best if you travel infrequently and you want
flexibility or you like to pay as you go. Whilst a ‘Myki
Pass’ is best for regular travellers, and can be bought as
a 7 day Myki Pass, or a 28-365 day pass. You swipe your
Myki card when boarding and disembarking the
bus/train/tram, and it will automatically calculate the
cheapest fare according to your travel.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
> Health Care Card: Issued by Centrelink, this card
entitles you to concession fares on public transport
services within Victoria and interstate legs of V/Line
coach and/or Link services.
Only cards with a Victorian address are valid.
The concession applies only to the cardholder
and not others named on the card, even if they
are travelling with the cardholder.
You do not need a VPT Student Concession Card
if you have a Health Care Card.
Melbourne public transport is split into Zone 1 and Zone
2, with Zone 1 including the CBD and inner suburbs and
Zone 2 being the remaining area extending to the
outskirts. Different fares are charged for travel in and
between each Zone, however the Myki system
automatically calculates this for you when you swipe on
and off the bus, train or tram. Public transport is fairly
regular in Melbourne, particularly around the peak times
of the day and on the busy routes – including to and
from universities and other education facilities, so you're
never waiting too long for a tram or train! Timetables and
journey planners are available to help from the Public
Transport Victoria website.
2 hour travel (Myki Money)
Daily (Myki Money)
7 Day Myki Pass
28-365 Day Myki Pass (Daily Rate)
Zone 1
Zone 2
Zone 1
Zone 2
Full fare
Full fare
Full fare
Full fare
Short term 2 hour and Daily tickets for irregular travelers
are available but are around 70 cents to $1 more
expensive than using ‘Myki Money’.
Regional Bus – Myki areas: Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo,
Seymour, Warragul and Latrobe Valley.
Regional Bus – Category A & B bus tickets: Most
regional buses in areas outside of Ballarat, Geelong,
Bendigo, Seymour, Warragul and Latrobe Valley still use
category ‘A’ and ‘B’ tickets, which you purchase on the
bus when travelling. The majority of towns are Category
A; however Ararat, Beaufort and Stawell are the main
towns in Category B. 2 hour, daily, weekly and monthly
tickets can be purchased.
V/Line tickets: V/Line’s ticketing system operates on
regional train and coach services as well as giving limited
access to metropolitan trains, trams and buses, and
local bus services in some regional cities, this will be
phased out in 2013.
> Tickets are either machine-printed or hand-written by
staff. Myki may eventually replace these tickets.
> Types of tickets include: Peak or Off-Peak; Single;
Weekly; Monthly; Date-to-date; Yearly; Family
Traveller; V/Line group travel, just check at the
counter as to which ticket you need.
This information has been sourced from, Prices and content were correct in
February 2013, however check the websites before travelling.
Regional Schools Outreach Program
you need to
know about University?
ow will
wiill I
fford uni?
hat u
ni to
ow will
wiill I
get tthere?
h e re
ill I live?
ow will
wiill I
ake friends?
Ask our friendly u
university students to
help answer your questions using the
Regional Schools Outreach Program’s
online question and
an answer service...
A Me… About Uni!’
It is free, safe and helpful!
Go to for the answers
We’d love to hear from
from you!
Web resources and support at university
Information about university/TAFE, courses, careers,
fees, scholarships, gap years, decision making,
applications, etc.
Government Financial Support:
My Future:
– includes detailed scholarship information.
Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre:
Australian Scholarships Group
Information on studying at TAFE:
Information on youth services & gap years:
Myki: or 136 954 (13 MYKI)
Independent information on
tertiary study and courses:
Public Transport Victoria:
Information on student income support
and new scholarships:
Information about career planning and job seeking:
Individual university websites such as: (Victoria University) (Australian Catholic University)
Email: [email protected]
While you are expected to be an independent adult at
university and TAFE, you don’t have to do it on your own.
There’s a wide range of support services available at
most institutions.
Support services available include
> Counselling – careers, personal and financial
> Academic support & mentoring
> Medical services
> Disability support
Overseas Working Holidays:
Global Volunteering 18–25 year olds
> Student associations
> Indigenous education centres
You can find information about these services on
individual university/TAFE websites.
Placement into work, training & study overseas:
Regional Schools Outreach Program
Make it
work for you.
For more information
Funded by the Australian Government under the Higher
Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP)
Proudly supported by
© 2010–2013 University of Ballarat.