Almost 21,000 students across the country will benefit from the Gillard Government’s reforms to Youth Allowance after legislation passed Parliament today.
Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said the Government’s reforms package would give almost 5,500 additional students in regional areas access to independent Youth Allowance.
From January 1, thousands more students will be eligible to receive up to $388.70 a fortnight in Youth Allowance payments.
“We recognise students in regional areas often face greater barriers to university. Our reforms will give greater access to independent Youth Allowance and greater support to relocate for study,” Senator Evans said.
“This is a big win for our local students. Under these changes, tertiary students living in inner regional areas will be able to access independent Youth Allowance under the same rules that apply to those from outer regional areas.
“We believe that no matter where a student lives, they should be able to go to university if that’s their goal. This additional Government support will help.”
These measures are part of a $265 million package of reforms following a review of Student Income Support Reforms conducted earlier in the year by Professor Kwong Lee Dow.
Recognising that students from regional areas also experience higher costs to relocate for study, the Government has also increased the value of Relocation Scholarships for eligible students.
From 1 January next year, eligible regional students will receive a Relocation Scholarship of $4000 for the first year of study, $2000 for each of the second and third years and $1000 for any subsequent years.
“Around 15,000 students across the country will receive more support from their relocation scholarships over the duration of their degree because of the Gillard Government’s reforms,” Senator Evans said.
“These reforms will help more regional students access the support they need to go to university.
“This year, total support for Youth Allowance for higher education will exceed $1.25 billion – a more than 50 per cent increase on the $800 million outlay in the last year of the former Coalition Government.
“We want more regional students to have the opportunity to go to university.
“Helping young people achieve a university qualification is vital to ensuring Australia has people capable of filling the employment needs of a productive economy.”
Details of the changes to Youth Allowance are available at www.deewr.gov.au/youthallowance