The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.1.M.136 Merit or equity-based scholarship


A merit or equity-based scholarship is a scholarship that is awarded to a student to:

  • recognise the student's achievement in studying or in undertaking research at an educational institution, or
  • enable the student to study or undertake research at an educational institution.

A scholarship granted to a student for either of these purposes is treated as exempt income for social security purposes to the extent that the payment does not exceed the person's threshold in a calendar year ($9,174 in 2023).

The value of this threshold is indexed on 1 January each year.

Note: Merit or equity-based scholarships do not include Commonwealth scholarships or relocation scholarships, which are excluded amounts for social security purposes.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8)(zjd) Excluded amounts—general, section 8(8AA) For the purposes of paragraph (8)(zjd), each of the following is an excluded payment …, section 8(8AB) For the purposes of paragraph (8)(zjd), a person's threshold amount …

Policy reference: SS Guide Income from scholarships

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