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. YA study-load - full-time secondary students

Students attending school

A secondary student must attend secondary school full-time to satisfy the activity test as a full-time student. Full-time study is a set amount of work that is accepted by the school as being full-time for any given period. If full-time study is not possible, then activity requirements need to be adjusted and a YA activity agreement or EPP (1.1.J.25) may be required.

Example: A student with a disability (1.1.D.160) would have modified activity requirements.

Satisfactory attendance

Students are required to maintain satisfactory full-time attendance. When it is identified that a YA recipient has had more than 5 days of unauthorised absence in a term without a reasonable excuse, Services Australia should make an appointment to discuss the situation with the young person. A YA activity agreement should then be negotiated taking into account their individual needs. The YA activity agreement would inform the student that the student must attend school and have no more than 5 days of unauthorised absences without a reasonable excuse a term for the length of the agreement. In order to ensure satisfactory progress, the student must ensure that at all times throughout their secondary course that they are complying with the terms of their YA activity agreement.

If the young person has more than 5 days of unauthorised absences without a reasonable excuse a participation failure may be incurred. If the person committed 3 or more participation failures during a period of 12 months without reasonable excuse, the payment may be suspended for 8 weeks. A student's suspensions from school of up to 30 days are regarded as authorised absences.

A young person who ceased to be qualified for YA as a full-time student may apply for YA (job seeker), providing they are able to satisfy mutual obligation requirements by undertaking other approved activities, which would normally involve some kind of study or training.

Young people aged under 22 will generally be unable to satisfy mutual obligation requirements by undertaking job search activities in their EPP, unless they have completed the final year of secondary school or an equivalent qualification (Certificate level III or above).

An early school leaver (1.1.E.05) may volunteer to undertake job search in addition to their EPP activities, but will not be required to report job search efforts.

Act reference: SSAct section 550 YA participation failures, section 551 Allowance not payable because of repeated failure

SS(Admin)Act section 63(2)(c) If the Secretary …

Students attending non-school institutions

Secondary students who attend institutions other than secondary schools, or study by correspondence/distance education at an institution other than a secondary school must normally be enrolled in and studying at least 75% of the normal full-time study-load for their course.

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

Policy reference: SS Guide YA study-load - full-time students in flexible study

Previous year 12 study

Students aged 18 and over will not usually be considered a full-time student for YA purposes while attempting year 12 for a THIRD time. However, a previous attempt at year 12 can be disregarded if the student was affected by circumstances beyond his or her control, such as:

  • the person is, or has been disabled by an illness or other medical condition (permanently or temporary)
  • the person has suffered family trauma
  • the person has experienced a natural disaster
  • the person is obliged to relocate, necessitating repeating part of a course of study, or starting a course again (because of the requirements of the educational institution concerned)
  • the person has caring responsibilities for another member of the person's family
  • another exceptional circumstance that interferes with the person's ability to complete a course of education or study within the standard minimum length of time.

Under exceptional circumstances, students who have failed 2 attempts at year 12 for reasons, other than those above, may be able to study year 12 subjects at a tertiary institution such as TAFE as an approved activity under YA.

Act reference: SSAct section 541B(1) Undertaking full-time study-General, section 541B(3A) Meaning of satisfactory progress, section 541B(3B) The Minister, by legislative instrument …

Youth Allowance (Satisfactory Study Progress) Guidelines 2014

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.11.14 Consequences for not meeting mutual obligation requirements - CDP job seeker compliance framework, Approved courses of study for YA, YA full-time students satisfactory progress - study at the same level

Course end date

The course end date for full-time secondary students, who do not intend to re-enrol at the next available opportunity, is deemed to be the last day of fourth term, as set by the relevant state/territory government.

Last reviewed: