3.8.9.30 Determining the FAA Reimbursement for Austudy, PES & YA

Introduction

FAA is normally paid to eligible recipients of Austudy, PES and YA for the least expensive mode of public transport that is reasonable. Where public transport is not practicable, a person may be able to claim FAA for the use of a private vehicle or for travel by taxi. If a person chooses to travel by private vehicle when public transport is practicable, they can only claim the equivalent of the least expensive practicable public transport fare. Each journey is assessed separately and FAA will cover the costs of fares/travel between the student's permanent home and their educational institution.

Note 1: The period of time needed for the journey and any illness or incapacity of the person must be taken into account in deciding what is practicable or reasonable for the purpose of this section.

Note 2: Determining whether the cost of a mode of transport is reasonable depends on the circumstances. Where living necessities or personal belongings, such as essential kitchenware and bedding, need to be transported by the student from their family or permanent home to their living accommodation in order to undertake study and it is not practicable to transport the items by public transport, (e.g. due to strict luggage limits or the amount of luggage is difficult to manoeuvre), FAA will cover reasonable costs of transport by a private vehicle.

Note 3: As each journey is to be assessed separately, travel by private vehicle may be considered reasonable for some journeys, for example where the student has a large amount of essential luggage to transport, however may not be considered reasonable for journeys along the same route for the same student where the student is not required to transport essential luggage.

Example: Sally is commencing her second year of university and is moving from Dubbo to Sydney. Sally will be living on campus at her educational institution and has 4 suitcases of luggage as she is required to provide her own kitchenware, sheets and pillows, along with her clothing, toiletries and course equipment. Public transport is available between Dubbo and her educational institution, with one stopover to change from the coach to the train. As the luggage limit for both modes of transport is strictly one additional piece, with no option to purchase additional luggage allowance and it would be difficult for Sally to navigate 4 suitcases by herself during her journey, it is not practicable or reasonable for her to travel by public transport. Sally will be entitled to the private vehicle rate of FAA for the journey from Dubbo to her educational institution if she decides to drive her car.

However, in the winter university semester break, Sally decides to drive back to Dubbo for 3 weeks to spend time with her family. As Sally is not required to transport a large amount of her belongings for the journey, she will only be entitled to the public transport rate of FAA as it would be practicable and reasonable for her to travel by public transport from her educational institution to Dubbo.

Example: Matt is from Perth and is commencing his first year of study in Brisbane. Matt decides to drive his car from Perth to his educational institution. As public transport via flights is a practicable and reasonable way to travel, and is the most cost effective, Matt will only receive FAA for the cost of the flights. If Matt has additional luggage that he transports with him in his car because he is required to provide some kitchenware and bedding for his new accommodation in Brisbane, his FAA may include the cost of excess baggage that would have been applicable for the flight.

Travel by private car

The following table shows the rates for reimbursement of FAA where the journey was made by private car. These rates commenced on 1 January 2003.

Engine capacity of car WITHOUT rotary engine
(cubic centimetres)

Engine capacity of car WITH rotary engine
(cubic centimetres)

Cents per kilometre
1600 or less 800 or less 50.0
1601 - 2600 801 - 1300 60.0
More than 2600 More than 1300 61.0

Travel by taxi

If the student travelled by taxi, FAA is reimbursed at 63 cents per kilometre.

Travel by other modes of transport

For other modes of transport, the FAA reimbursement is the cost of the ticket for the mode of transport for which the student was eligible.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZAAK Fares allowance for private transport

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.9.20 FAA Entitlement, 3.8.9.10 Eligibility for FAA, 3.8.9.60 Payment of FAA

Last reviewed: 14 August 2017