3.8.3.40 PES Concessional Study-load Students

Concessional study-load students

This topic discusses concessional study-load students:

  • how to determine their study-load,
  • how their rate of PES (if a 25% concessional study-load student) may be affected if their study-load falls below either 25% or 50%, and
  • how their rate of PES (if a 66% concessional study-load student) may be affected if their study-load falls below 66%).

A recipient can be a secondary or tertiary concessional study-load student if they are studying under either a:

  • 66% concessional study-load (1.1.C.290), or
  • 25% concessional study-load.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PE Concessional study-load students

66% concessional study-load

A 66% concessional study-load applies to a recipient who is unable to study 75% of the normal full-time study-load, but is enrolled in at least two-thirds (66%), at either tertiary or secondary level, for ANY of the following reasons:

  • The institution's normal requirements for the course.

    Example: Timetable clashes, subject prerequisites not satisfied because of failure or other reasons, subject cancelled or over-enrolled, or reduced study-load needed to complete the course.

  • A SPECIFIC DIRECTION in writing from the academic registrar or equivalent officer.
  • A RECOMMENDATION in writing from the academic registrar or equivalent officer, for specified academic or vocational reasons. The period covered by this recommendation must not exceed 1/2 of an academic year.

66% concessional study-load is generally not applicable to students at secondary schools

66% concessional study-loads for secondary students would usually apply only to non-school students. This is because a secondary school determines what a school student's full-time workload is, so the need to apply the 66% concession is unlikely to arise.

Explanation: A 'secondary school' is defined in the determination of educational institutions and courses as an institution located in Australia that is either a government secondary school or a non-government secondary school that is recognised as a secondary school (under the law of a state or territory; or for the payment of government capital or recurrent grants; or for the payment of government bursaries or allowances to its students).

How is 66% concessional study-load measured?

The following table describes how the 66% study-load concession is measured for tertiary and secondary students.

If the recipient is… And the course is… Then they are studying 66% or more of a normal concessional study-load if…
a tertiary student, a course within the meaning of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (1.1.F.230), for a particular period, (whether the units being undertaken are trimester, semester based or annual) they meet a minimum of 66% of a full-time study load for the course.
a tertiary or secondary student,
  • a tertiary course that is NOT a course within the meaning of the Higher Education Support Act 2003, or
  • a secondary course NOT at a secondary school,
they study 66% or more of the study-load normally required by the institution for a full-time student.

25% concessional study-load

A student who is a sole parent, a carer pensioner or has a substantial disability, may qualify for PES while studying a concessional study-load of at least 25% of the normal full-time study-load. This includes study in a course offered on a part-time (1.1.P.100) basis IF the study-load is equivalent to at least 25% of a comparable course offered full-time. To be considered a 25% concessional study-load student, the student must have a study-load of at least 25% but less than 75% of a full-time study-load.

A recipient may qualify for PES with a 25% concessional study-load. IF they:

  • Have a substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability OR receive one of the following payments:
    • DSP (SSAct),
    • invalidity service pension (ISP) or ISS (invalidity) (VEA).
    • Note: DSP and ISP recipients may be eligible for payment at the full-rate when undertaking study under a 25% concessional study-load - refer to 'Study-load & rate of PES' below.

      Explanation: If the recipient is not on either DSP or ISP, evidence of the recipients' disability and the effect on their ability to successfully undertake the normal amount of full-time study for the course is required.

  • Have a dependent child (1.1.D.70) aged under 16 AND receive one of the following payments:
    • PPS (SSAct),
    • SpB as a sole parent (SSAct),
    • WidB (SSAct),
    • WA (SSAct),
    • war widow/er's pension (VEA),

      Explanation 1: A dependent child for the purposes of approval of a 25% concessional study-load, must be aged under 16.
      Explanation 2: A war widow/er's pension that is paid under the VEA to compensate widowed partners of veterans who have died as a result of war service or eligible defence service.

  • Are caring for someone with a disability and receive one of the following payments:
    • CP (SSAct),
    • partner service pension in combination with CA (VEA and SSAct).

      Explanation: To be eligible for 25% concessional study-load, a partner service pension recipient must also be in receipt of CA for the care of their partner, which indicates that their caring responsibilities impact on their ability to study full-time.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PE(4) Concessional study-load students

How is 25% concessional study-load measured?

The following table describes how the 25% study-load concession is measured for tertiary and secondary students.

If the recipient is… And the course is… Then they are studying 25% or more of a normal concessional study-load if…

a secondary student,

at a school,

the school certifies this to be the case.

a tertiary student,

a course within the meaning of the Higher Education Support Act 2003,

for a particular period, (whether the units being undertaken are trimester, semester based or annual) they meet a minimum of 25% of a full-time study load for the course.

a tertiary or secondary student,

  • a tertiary course that is NOT a course within the meaning of the Higher Education Support Act 2003, or
  • a secondary course NOT at a school,

they study 25% or more of the study-load normally required by the institution for a full-time student.

Allowable time concession

Allowable time rules for concessional study-load students are covered in 3.8.3.60.

Allowable time - measuring previous study

Rules for measuring previous study for concessional study-load students are covered in 3.8.3.70.

Allowable time - secondary students

Allowable study time rules - for secondary students are covered in 3.8.3.30.

Date at which progress is measured against allowable study time

Rules for determining the rate at which progress is measured against allowable study time are covered in 3.8.3.60.

Discontinued study/reduced study-load

Qualification for PES ceases from the date of discontinuation, IF a student approved for the 25% or 66% concession:

  • discontinues or varies subjects during a course, AND
  • reduces their study-load to below 25% of the normal full-time study-load (if a 25% concessional study-load student), or
  • reduces their study-load to below 66% of the normal full-time study-load (if the student qualified as a 66% concessional study-load student but does not qualify as a 25% concessional study-load student).

Study-load & rate of PES

A PES 25% concessional study-load student whose study-load is below 50% of the normal full-time workload for their course (but has at least a 25% study-load), will be paid at half the full PES rate.

Students in this category are described as sub 50% concessional study-load students (1.1.S.375).

The following pensioners are exempt from the lower rate, even if their study-load is below 50%, but at least 25%.

A person receiving a:

  • disability support pension,
  • invalidity service pension under the VEA,
  • war widow/er's pension (with a dependent child under 16 years) and also receiving an income support supplement (on the ground that the person is permanently incapacitated for work) under the VEA.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PZG Rate of PES

Student Assistance (Education Institutions and Courses) Determination 2009 (No. 2)

Policy reference: SS Guide 5.1.7.30 PES - Current Rate

Last reviewed: 7 May 2018