3.2.7.110 YA Full-time Students Satisfactory Progress - Study at the Same Level

Study at the same level

If a student wishes to do more than one course at the SAME LEVEL the following conditions may apply depending on whether the student has:

  • completed a previous course (see table 1),
  • withdrawn from a previous course (see table 2), OR
  • failed their first and second course (see table 3).

For the level of courses at the tertiary level see 1.1.L.40.

To remain eligible for YA a student must be making satisfactory progress in their course. Satisfactory progress is completing the course within the time period set out in the Youth Allowance (Satisfactory Study Progress) Guidelines 2014 and in this topic. Study in previous courses is not counted when calculating satisfactory progress time allowed for the current course.

Note: Allowable time rules for Austudy do not apply to YA.

The following special circumstances beyond a person's control, are set out in the Youth Allowance (Satisfactory Study Progress) Guidelines 2014 and may be considered when deciding whether the person has been affected by circumstances beyond his/her control:

  • the person is, or has been, disabled by an illness or other medical condition,
  • the person has suffered family trauma,
  • the person has experienced a natural disaster,
  • the person must repeat or restart a course of study (because of the requirements of the education institution concerned) after the person was required to relocate their place of residence,
  • the person has caring responsibilities for another member of the person's family, AND
  • any other exceptional circumstances that interferes with the person's ability to complete a course of education or study within the standard minimum length of time.

Table 1: Previous course completed at same level

Proposed study Requirements
Any additional study at the same level.

There is no legislative requirement that prohibits the number of courses that a YA recipient could undertake at the same level after having successfully completed a previous course. The satisfactory progress time allowed for the new course is reset.

Note: Combined courses at the same educational institution are exempted from this rule, see 3.2.7.100.

Example 1: James is 22 and has previously completed a 3 year Arts degree. He attends DHS (Centrelink) to claim YA for a second undergraduate degree studying science. James is granted YA to study the Science degree at another institution as there is no limit on the number of courses that James can complete at the same level while on YA. James' satisfactory progress time allowed is reset according to his science course.

Table 2: Withdrawal from previous course

If student WITHDRAWS from a course and… Then…
wants to do a second course at the same level for which the duration is one YEAR OR LESS,
  • the student can start the second course if it will improve their employment prospects.
wants to do a second course at the same level for which the duration is MORE THAN ONE YEAR,
  • if the student withdrew for reasons beyond their control (see Special Circumstances Beyond Person's Control), they may start the second course without any loss of satisfactory progress time allowed, and the time is reset.
  • If there were no special circumstances, the student must enter into and comply with the terms of a YA activity agreement with an obligation to continue the further course until either the person completes the further course within the time that is regarded as satisfactory progress in that course or the person is no longer qualified for YA, whichever is earliest.
wants to do a third or subsequent course,
  • the student would be required to enter into and comply with the terms of a YA activity agreement with an obligation to continue the further course until either the person completes the further course within the time that is regarded as satisfactory progress in that course or the person is no longer qualified for YA, whichever is earliest.

Example 1: Vincent is 20 and has completed one year of a Business degree at university. He withdraws from the Business degree and transfers to Engineering after one year. As Vincent has withdrawn from his previous course for reasons that were NOT beyond his control Vincent needs to enter into, and comply with the terms of a YA activity agreement until he completes his course within the time that is regarded as satisfactory progress in that course or is no longer qualified for YA, whichever is earliest.

Example 2: Lisa is 22 years old, and has completed 2 years of an IT degree. Lisa stopped studying IT at the end of the second year and starts to work. After a 2 year break Lisa returns to university, withdraws from her IT degree and starts a Landscape Architecture degree. Lisa is able to be paid YA to undertake the Landscape Architecture degree. However, as she withdrew from her previous course, she must enter into and comply with the terms of a YA activity agreement until she completes her course within the time that is regarded as satisfactory progress in that course or is no longer qualified for YA, whichever is earliest. All previous study is disregarded and the time allowed is reset for her Landscape Architecture degree.

Table 3: Student failed first & second course

If student fails… Then the student can do a…
the first course and wants to do a second course at the same level, second course at the same level but they must make satisfactory progress in second course according to the relevant section of the Youth Allowance (Satisfactory Study Progress) Guidelines 2014 for undertaking study at that level.
the second course and wants to do a third course at the same level, third course at the same level only if the reason they failed the second course was for reasons beyond their control.

Explanation: Failure in a course is when a student is precluded by the institution from completing the course for any reason.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.7.100 YA Full-time Students Satisfactory Progress

Non-approved study

A young person is NOT considered to be a full-time student for YA purposes, if they are:

  • undertaking a course which is NOT approved under the Student Assistance (Education Institutions and Courses) Determination 2009 (No.2), OR
  • NOT meeting the satisfactory progress rules.

The following table explains the effect of non-approved study:

If the young person is aged… Then…
under 22,
  • the study may be included in an EPP in combination with other activities, AND/OR
  • they may have a full job search requirement.
22 or over,
  • they will NOT qualify for YA and will need to claim NSA.

Reaching satisfactory progress time limits

A YA student who has reached their satisfactory progress time in a course will lose their access to YA as a student, the student income bank, and higher income free area.

Example: Alice commenced a 3-year Bachelor of Teaching in Semester 1, 2013. Assuming that Alice's units are semester long, she has 3 ½ years in which to complete the course and remain eligible for YA as a student. Provided she continues to meet the activity test, Alice will reach her satisfactory progress time at the end of Semester 1, 2016 and will cease to be eligible for YA as a student for that course.

Note: Allowable time rules for Austudy do not apply to YA. Austudy students need to exceed, rather than reach their allowable time (see 3.3.4.70).

However, a person MAY be approved to continue their study as a YA job seeker (with the study approved as a short course approved activity) in certain circumstances. These students need to have their study recorded in an EPP.

Students who are under 22 who have reached the satisfactory progress time allowed for their course need to transfer to YA job seeker and enter into an EPP. They can be permitted to satisfy the YA activity test through full-time study or through a combination of activities, including part-time study, which need to be documented within their EPP.

The EPP will need to contain details of:

  • suitable activities to be undertaken by the student,
  • where full-time study is the sole activity, any conditions on the student finishing the course within a certain period.

Note: Recipients aged 22 or over who are not undertaking full-time study cease to be eligible for YA. They may test their eligibility for NSA but may not be eligible if they remain full-time students. Short course approval cannot be given to full-time students who exceed satisfactory progress time allowed.

Act reference: SSAct section 541B Undertaking full-time study

Youth Allowance (Satisfactory Study Progress) Guidelines 2014

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.7.10 Satisfying the YA Activity Test, 3.2.7.30 YA Full-time Students, 3.2.7.100 YA Full-time Students Satisfactory Progress

Last reviewed: 1 July 2015