Allowable time

Allowable time is how long you can get Austudy while you’re studying.

You can only get Austudy for a set amount of time. We call this allowable time.

Full time tertiary students

If you’re a full time student you must make satisfactory progress in your course to keep your payment. This means completing your course within a set period of time.

Your allowable time

The normal length of the course isThe allowable time is
Up to 1 yearThe minimum time it takes to finish the course
More than 1 year - and none of the subjects take a whole year to completeThe minimum time for the course plus half a study year
More than 1 year - and at least 1 subject takes a whole year to completeThe minimum time for the course plus 1 year


Your full time degree takes 3 years at 100% study load. This is your first time studying a degree. None of your subjects will take a whole year to complete.

You’ve been doing at least 75% study load every semester. This means you’re full time and you can get Austudy.

You won’t finish your course in 3 years. This is because you’re doing less than 100% study load in each semester. You need 1 more semester to finish your course.

As long as you’re still studying at least 75% study load, you’ll get Austudy for the extra semester. This is because the course is longer than 1 year and none of your subjects take a whole year to complete.

Previous study

We’ll count previous study in your allowable time if it’s at the same level as the course you’re doing now. This is the case if you did any of the following:

  • studied full time
  • studied part time
  • finished the previous course
  • attempted the course but didn’t finish it.

There are some reasons why this study might not count towards your allowable time. Read about extensions and exceptions.

Honours students

If you’re an honours student you’ll have a year to finish your course.

If you’re doing it as part of your bachelor degree, you’ll get an extra year added to the allowable time. If you’re doing it by itself, your allowable time will be a year.

Secondary students

If you’ve failed a course, the time you spent studying before may count in your allowable time. It depends which year you’re in.

You’re in year 11 or below

Your earlier attempts to do the course don’t count in your allowable time.

You’re in year 12

You can have up to 2 attempts to complete year 12. If you need to try it a third time we might not pay you for this. Read about extensions and exceptions.

Students doing self-paced courses

With self-paced courses the education institution may not tell you how long the course should take. However, you’ll still only get Austudy for your period of allowable time.

Your allowable time is the same as it would be if you did your course face to face.

Students with disability

If you have substantial disability, you may reduce your study load to 25% of the full time amount. In this case, you would still keep your payment.

You need to give us proof from a medical practitioner who specialises in the area of your disability. This must be in writing and show you’re unable to study full time.

If you do this, you’ll have more allowable time. The extra allowable time depends on how long you’re studying part time.

Extensions and exceptions

You may be able to get Austudy even if you study longer than your allowable time. This includes where you’ve either:

  • done previous year 12 or tertiary study
  • passed the allowable time due to reasons beyond your control.

Previous year 12 study

If you’ve failed year 12, your previous study won’t count in your allowable time if you:

  • failed because of reasons beyond your control
  • failed because English isn’t your first language
  • stopped studying less than 6 months after the start of the academic year
  • tried to complete the course more than 10 years ago.

Previous tertiary study

Previous tertiary study is the time you spent studying another tertiary course.

It won’t count in your allowable time if any of the following apply:

  • you failed part of the course because of reasons beyond your control
  • the education provider stopped offering the course
  • you were studying an unapproved course
  • you needed to pass that course before you could enrol in the course you’re doing now
  • it was a TAFE or Vocational Education and Training (VET) course and its normal length was 1 year or less
  • you did the course more than 10 years before your current course start date
  • you withdrew from a subject and the provider didn’t record it as a failure
  • you were studying a Startup Year Course.

Reasons beyond your control

The reason why you couldn’t finish your course in the allowable time might have been beyond your control. Examples are:

  • illness
  • family trauma
  • natural disaster
  • having to relocate – you might have had to repeat part of a course or start again
  • needing to care for someone in your family.

If you had this kind of reason we may extend your allowable time. To discuss it, call the Youth and students line.

Page last updated: 14 December 2023.
QC 26901