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. Approved courses of study for YA

Types of approved courses (1.1.A.210)

Approved courses of study for YA are listed in the Student Assistance (Education Institutions and Courses) Determination 2019 (the Determination). These include:

  • traditional institution based courses, and
  • flexible study arrangements such as
    • competency based training
    • open learning
    • other self-paced courses (1.1.S.80).

Unapproved courses

A student is not considered full-time while taking unrelated subjects that are not included in the Determination. However, they may still qualify for YA while taking these subjects if they have been incorporated in their Job Plan (1.1.J.25) or activity agreement.

If a student is studying a combination of an approved course and an unapproved course for YA purposes, the units or subjects in the unapproved course are NOT considered part of a full-time study-load.

Example: If a student is studying an unapproved VET course that is required to be completed as part of an approved bachelor course, the unapproved VET course cannot be counted towards a full-time study-load.

Policy reference: SS Guide Assessing tertiary study-load for Austudy - full-time students

Institutions awaiting accreditation

Where it can be demonstrated that an institution is seeking accreditation for a course, or for the institution itself, from the relevant authority, YA job seeker recipients may be permitted to enter into a Job Plan which outlines their full-time studies in the course or institution as the sole activity. This Job Plan may be negotiated for a maximum of 6 months, with no extensions permitted. If accreditation for the course or institution has not been granted within this period, the person must negotiate a new Job Plan as a job seeker. The recipients will not be able to access the higher personal income free area or Income Bank for the period of their Job Plan, as they will not be regarded as a full-time student in an approved course.

Masters & doctorate level studies

Mainstream doctorate level courses or a qualification of the same standing are not approved courses for YA (student). Masters courses that are not specified in Schedule 3 of the Determination are NOT approved courses for YA (student) purposes. However, students may still be approved for part of courses that lead to unapproved Masters degree courses, for example, combined bachelor/unapproved Masters degree courses, excluding the year/s that exceed the normal full-time duration of the related bachelor degree course.

Where a student is enrolled in and undertaking a non-approved course (e.g. an unapproved Masters degree course) which has a 'nested' degree structure that allows the student to exit the course early and be granted a lower level award (e.g. a graduate diploma) the student is NOT eligible for YA while completing the units required for the lower level award.

In some cases, it may be possible for studies leading to a Masters degree in an unapproved Masters course or doctorate to be incorporated into a Job Plan as part of a combination of approved activities.

Example: An unapproved Masters course student's or a doctorate student's activity load might include:

  • 6 hours per week study
  • 10 hours per week part-time work, and
  • 3 hours per week voluntary work.

Note: Doctorate level courses only refer to doctorate qualifications which are Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 10. There are some Masters level courses which may call themselves a 'Doctor' course but they may be AQF Level 9.

Example: Juris Doctor is not a doctorate course, it is an AQF Level 9 Masters course.

Secondary study

While secondary study remains an approved course of study under the Determination, dependent young people undertaking full-time secondary study are not eligible for YA until they turn 18, unless they:

  • become independent
  • are required to live away from home to study, or
  • are determined by the Secretary not to be benefiting from FTB that is being paid to their parents.

Act reference: SSAct section 541B(5) Meaning of approved course of education or study

Student Assistance (Education Institutions and Courses) Determination 2019

Policy reference: SS Guide YA full-time students, YA study-load - full-time secondary students

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