Study loads for Austudy and Youth Allowance

Most people need to study full time to get Austudy or Youth Allowance as a student. To work out if you’re full time you need to know your study load.

If your study load changes, you must tell us within 14 days. If you don’t tell us, you may end up having to pay money back.

You can tell us about changes using your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

Full time study

You’re studying full time if you’re doing 75% or more of your course’s full time study load. We work this out using 1 of the following:

  • your equivalent full time study load (EFTSL)
  • your credit points
  • the amount of hours you study.

Example 1 – you’re studying a course based on EFTSL

Your university works out your study load using EFTSL. You can do up to 8 subjects per year, and the EFTSL weighting for each subject is the same.

Total EFTSL Course length Full time study load 75% study load

1.0 per year or 0.5 per semester

1 year

8 subjects worth 0.125 EFTSL each
8 x 0.125 = 1.0

6 x 0.125 = 0.75 over the year 0.375 in each semester

In this example, 3 subjects in semester 1 and semester 2 equals 0.375 EFTSL for each semester. If you’re doing less than this in either semester, you’re usually part time.

Example 2 – you’re studying a course based on credit points

The place you’re studying at says the total number of credit points for your course is 24 per semester. In this example, you’re studying 3 subjects worth 6 credit points each.

Total credit points Course length Full time study load 75% study load
24 per semester 3 years 4 subjects worth 6 credit points each
4 x 6 = 24
24 x 0.75 = 18 credit points per semester

In this example the 75% study load is 18 credit points per semester. Because you’re completing 18 credit points, you’re full time. If you’re doing less than this you’re part time.

Example 3 – you’re studying a course based on hours

The place you’re studying at says your course is 200 hours in total and the course length is 10 weeks.

Total hours Course length Full time study load 75% study load

200 hours

10 weeks

20 hours per week
200 hours ÷ 10 weeks = 20 hours per week

15 hours per week
200 hours x 0.75 = 150 hours.
150 hours ÷ 10 weeks = 15 hours per week

In this example, if you’re doing at least 15 hours per week you’re full time. If you’re doing less than this you’re part time.

Allowable time

You can only get Austudy or Youth Allowance as a student for a set amount of time. We call this allowable time.

If your study load is 75% instead of 100% you might run out of allowable time. This means you may not get your student payment for the whole time it takes to finish your course.

Read more about allowable time for Youth Allowance or allowable time for Austudy.

Part time study

You’re studying part time if you’re doing less than 75% of your course’s full time study load.

If you’re under 22 and studying part time, you might get Youth Allowance as a job seeker. You’ll need to have a Job Plan and do some other activities as well.

Reducing your study load

You might change to a lower study load because of any or all of the following:

  • you want to drop a subject
  • your course changes and you don’t have a choice
  • you have a disability
  • you’re sick or injured.

You must tell us if your study load goes below 75%. This usually means we can’t pay you a student payment.

If your study load is now below 75% due to coronavirus (COVID-19), we may still consider you as full time. This could be because either:

  • your education provider closes temporarily
  • your education provider is not offering all the subjects.

If your study load has reduced, you’ll need to let us know. Call the students line.

If you drop a subject

If you decide to study less than 75% it means you’re part time. In most cases you can’t get Austudy or Youth Allowance as a student.

If you're unable to study full time

You might not have a choice about reducing your study load. For example, you might:

  • have a timetable clash
  • fail a subject you need to pass to get into the one you want to do.

Your course provider might:

  • cancel 1 of your subjects
  • have no vacancies in 1 of your subjects
  • reduce your study load for academic or vocational reasons.

If your study load goes below 75% you may be able to stay on Youth Allowance or Austudy. This is if it was for any of these reasons and you didn’t have a choice about it.

You’ll need to do both of the following:

  • give us a letter from your academic registrar or similar that includes 1 of the reasons above
  • keep a study load of at least 66%.

You may be studying a 66% study load because your education provider recommended that you reduce your study. If they didn’t give a specific reason for this, you can only keep your payments for half the academic year. After this you’ll need a study load of at least 75% to stay on Youth Allowance or Austudy.

If you're an Austudy student with disability

If you have a substantial physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability, you may not be able to either:

You may still be eligible for Austudy if you do at least 25% of the full time study load.

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're a Youth Allowance student with a temporary condition

You may still be eligible for Youth Allowance if you can’t study full time for a while because you’re either:

  • sick
  • injured.

You’ll need to give us a medical certificate that shows why you can’t study full time. You also need to remain enrolled in your course while you’re sick or injured.

If you’re self-isolating due to coronavirus you don’t need to give us a medical certificate.

Page last updated: 22 May 2020