Scholarships for ABSTUDY students become easier from January 1

Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, has announced the implementation of new rules that make it easier to offer scholarships approved for ABSTUDY secondary students.

“I am delighted to announce that from 1 January 2019, it will be easier for boarding schools and philanthropic institutions to offer scholarships approved under ABSTUDY, improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student access to high quality schooling,” Mr Fletcher said.

As part of these changes, for boarding school scholarships offered from 1 January 2019:

  • Boarding schools will not require a particular socio-economic status (SES) score — all boarding schools will be eligible.
  • The minimum scholarship value for approval under ABSTUDY will be increased to $6,000 (subject to indexation) or 25 per cent of the school’s annual boarding and tuition fees, whichever is greater.

As at June 2018, there were 33,095 ABSTUDY recipients and of these, 8,594 were receiving ABSTUDY (Living Allowance).

The changes will coincide with the 50th anniversary of ABSTUDY, which was launched in 1969.

“These changes encourage boarding schools to provide a genuine and substantive investment in Indigenous education,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Together, government, schools and the philanthropic sector can help more Indigenous students gain a high quality education.”

Mr Fletcher said there be clearer and more transparent guidelines for the approval of scholarships under ABSTUDY. The new guidelines outline the assessment criteria for approval of third party scholarships and improve consistency of the approval process.

The new Guidelines are available at https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children-benefits-payments-student-payments/abstudy-scholarship-guidelines