Extension of temporary changes to boarding payments for Term 1 and 2 in 2022 for ABSTUDY and AIC students
The Australian Government introduced temporary changes to ABSTUDY and AIC policy during 2020 and 2021 in response to impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The Government is extending temporary provisions for boarding payments for Terms 1 and 2 2022 to support the boarding sector to maintain continuity of education services to boarding students affected by the coronavirus resurgence, including protecting students’ boarding places so they can return to boarding as soon as they are able.
Under these temporary arrangements, boarding students who:
- qualified for ABSTUDY or AIC boarding payments in Term 4 of 2021 will qualify for payments in Term 1 and 2 2022 whilst studying remotely, provided they maintain their school and boarding arrangements.
- new students in 2022 who were enrolled before the first day of Term 1 2022 will qualify for payments in Term 1 and 2 2022 whilst studying remotely, provided they maintain their school and boarding arrangements.
- new students in 2022 who enrol after the first day of Term 1 2022 will only qualify for payments in Term 1 and 2 2022, once they commence studies face-to-face on-campus.These temporary provisions will allow boarding payments to continue for students who cannot return to boarding due to impacts of the pandemic, such as lockdowns, border and travel restrictions or concerns around the risk of contracting and potentially bringing the virus back to community.
Payments for students studying remotely
Boarding payments can continue for students learning remotely due to the pandemic provided all the following criteria are met:
- The student remains enrolled/registered for the same boarding arrangement as Term 4 2021, OR is a new student who finalised their enrolment before the first day of Term 1 2022, AND
- The student’s boarding place is reserved for their return as soon as they are reasonably able to commence boarding.
- The school/boarding provider maintains ongoing contact with the student and/or the student’s family during the period.
- Where the student normally resides at a boarding school or other boarding provider, the school or boarding provider provides the student with the curriculum and necessary support for remote learning.
What do boarding providers need to do to support students studying remotely?
Where students continue their education remotely, boarding providers must:
- remain in contact with students and continue to provide educational support and pastoral care to keep students engaged
- prioritise face to face learning when it is safe to do so
- notify Services Australia immediately if the student discontinues their enrolment.
Where students are able to safely return to boarding, their boarding payments will continue in accordance with the usual arrangements. Fares Allowance will be available for eligible ABSTUDY students, as per the usual processes.
How to provide commencement dates for ABSTUDY Away From Home students
In the coming weeks, Services Australia will issue to schools a One Time Access Code (OTAC) via email as per usual processes. Once you receive your OTAC, follow the instructions contained in the email to log on to the Education Institution eService and provide commencement dates for ABSTUDY Away From Home students.
- All students who have returned and commenced face-to-face study Away From Home should be marked as ‘YES’ commenced.
- Students enrolled but studying remotely due to the impacts of Coronavirus, should be marked as ‘YES’ commenced. For these students, you must add comments for each student identifying the student is studying remotely due to COVID.
For Terms 1 and 2 of 2022, payments will continue to be made by instalments as close to the normal scheduled timing as possible, based on the current enrolment information held by Services Australia.
As usual, student entitlements may vary based on individual circumstances such as parental income.
If you need to notify the first or last day of attendance dates for students that have either commenced or ceased study after your OTAC has expired, use the form available on the Services Australia website.
To locate this form go to the Services Australia Website and in the search field type ‘First or last day of attendance for ABSTUDY Away from Home students’. Follow the instructions at the end of the form to return it.
What about ABSTUDY tuition fees?
ABSTUDY School Fees Allowance (Group 2) for Terms 1 and 2 will continue to be paid for tuition fees while schools continue to provide a curriculum and the necessary educational support to the eligible student.
Who to contact
If you have enquiries regarding these new policy arrangements, please contact Services Australia.
- For ABSTUDY payment enquiries, please phone the Third Party Contact Channel on 131 158.
- For AIC payment enquiries, please phone 132 318.