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. Austudy & secondary students


This topic covers issues relating to Austudy for secondary students (1.1.S.67) including:

  • study-load
  • progress rules, including rules for
    • secondary students undertaking self-paced courses, and
    • previous year 12 study.

This topic does not cover issues relating to students on concessional study-loads or tertiary study. For these issues refer to Austudy & full-time tertiary students and Austudy & concessional study-load students.


The following table describes how a secondary student can satisfy the activity test as a full-time student (1.1.F.230). This does not apply if they are on a concessional study-load.

If the student is studying at … then they must be …
a secondary school undertaking full-time study, or intending to enrol in full-time study when enrolments are next accepted, which means completing a set amount of work, accepted by the school as being full-time (or 75% of full-time) for any given period.
  • an education institution other than a secondary school, OR
  • by correspondence or distance education

undertaking or intending to enrol when enrolments are next accepted in at least 75% of the normal full-time study-load for the course in which they are enrolled or intending to enrol.

Act reference: SSAct section 569A Undertaking qualifying study, section 569C Full-time students

Student Assistance (Education Institutions and Courses) Determination 2019 section 10 Secondary courses

Policy reference: SS Guide Austudy & concessional study-load students

Progress rules - secondary students

A secondary student satisfies the progress rules if the person demonstrates that they are enrolled in an approved course, or intending to enrol when enrolments are next accepted and are making satisfactory progress towards completing the course. In most cases, satisfactory progress will usually be demonstrated where the student is undertaking the relevant study-load for their circumstances outlined in the table above. However, satisfactory progress is more difficult to gauge for students enrolled in self-paced courses. See below for guidance on progress rules for secondary students in receipt of Austudy who are undertaking self-paced courses.

Act reference: SSAct section 569A Undertaking qualifying study, section 569G(1) Progress rules—secondary students

Progress rules - secondary student undertaking self-paced courses

Satisfactory progress in competency-based training, or in self-paced study, is completion of the training/study within the period of time that is defined by the institution as undertaking full-time study, or, if the qualification were obtained by a conventional course of study, would be regarded as satisfactory progress in that course of study.

A self-paced course is a course within which students can progress at a pace which suits their individual learning needs, rather than the pace prescribed for a class of students. However, students enrolled in self-paced courses still need to make satisfactory progress in order to qualify for Austudy.

For students enrolled in self-paced courses, the submission of assignments on a regular basis or by due dates as prescribed for the course will be the primary measure by which the decision maker can confirm with the institution that 'satisfactory progress' has been made in the course.

Progress rules for previous year 12 study

Students will NOT usually be considered a full-time secondary student for Austudy purposes while attempting year 12 for a third time. However, a previous attempt at year 12 can be DISREGARDED if the person:

  • failed the course because of
    • an illness that had NOT been diagnosed when they commenced the course, or
    • other circumstances beyond their control that were NOT evident when they started studying that course
  • failed the course because English was NOT their native language
  • completed or discontinued studies within 6 months of the start of the academic year, or
  • undertook the previous courses more than 10 years ago.

Act reference: SSAct section 569G Progress rules—secondary students

Last reviewed: