Approved courses and education providers

You must study an approved course at an approved education provider to get Youth Allowance, Austudy, or Pensioner Education Supplement.

Payments this applies to

You must study an approved course with an approved education provider to get any of the following:

You can’t get Austudy if you’ve already done a doctorate.

You can’t get PES if you’ve already done either:

  • masters
  • any type of doctorate.

Types of doctorate courses include Doctors of Philosophy, Professional Doctorates and Higher Doctorates.


There are different masters and doctorate course criteria for ABSTUDY.

Approved courses and education providers

Approved courses of study may include:

  • secondary school course
  • special school course
  • school based apprenticeship
  • traineeship
  • pre-vocational or vocational education and training (VET) course
  • a course preparing you for tertiary study
  • university or higher education course
  • Small Business Training activity as part of Self-Employment Assistance
  • English as a Second Language course.

Approved education providers may include:

  • secondary school
  • special school
  • TAFE or a registered training organisation (RTO)
  • higher education provider, like a university.

Approved Vocational Education and Training (VET) diploma level or higher courses

Not all VET courses at a diploma level or higher are approved. To be an approved course at diploma level or higher, the VET course must be both:

  • approved for the VET Student Loan (VSL)
  • done with a provider approved to give VSL courses.

This applies to VET courses for Youth Allowance, Austudy or PES.

You won’t need to take out a VSL to get a payment from us. Only the course and provider needs to offer it.

Find the list of:

If you’re applying for ABSTUDY different criteria may apply.

Education providers can become VET approved providers. If you’re interested, read about becoming an approved VET provider, on the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website.

Approved higher education courses

You can get Youth Allowance, Austudy or PES for approved higher education courses.

To be an approved course the Department of Education must approve the provider for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).

This includes:

  • SA-HELP.

You don’t need to take out a HELP loan to get a payment from us. Only the course needs to be eligible for it.

See the list of approved higher education providers on the Providers that offer Commonwealth assistance on the StudyAssist website.

Education providers can become approved higher education providers. If you’re interested, read about applying to be a FEE-HELP provider on the Department of Education website.

Private higher education providers who offer full-fee paying courses may also be able to get their courses recognised by Services Australia. For more information, higher education providers should contact us on 132 490.

Approved distance and online education

If you study by distance education, you need to do an approved course with an approved education provider.

Read more about distance and online education.

Approved masters courses

The Department of Social Services approves masters courses. In general, a customer doing a masters by coursework may claim either:

The Student Assistance (Education Institutions and Courses) Determination 2019 includes a list of the approved masters courses. You can read the Determination on the Federal Register Legislation website.

You might be doing a combined masters degree and just one of the degrees appears on the Student Determination. If this is the case, you may get Youth Allowance, Austudy or PES if you can either:

  • study the approved degree full time
  • show us when the approved degree starts and ends.

You can check the approval for the second course either:

Read more about approved courses and education providers for Masters on the Department of Social Services website.

Unapproved courses

If you get a payment and your course becomes unapproved, you’ll keep getting your payment until any of these happen:

  • your course ends
  • you stop studying the course
  • there’s a break in your payment.

If you withdraw from your course and then re-enrol in the same course, we won’t reinstate your payment.

Page last updated: 6 December 2023.
QC 29726