Parental means test

Under the scheme, only Additional Boarding Allowance is income tested.

Parental income and boarding costs

In 2023, we look at your income for the 2021-2022 financial year.

How your income for tax year 2021-22 affects your payment

Parental income Effect on payment
$56,137 or less No change.
More than $56,137 Reduced by 20 cents for every dollar over. This depends on the number of children in your family pool.

Boarding costs affect the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance you get. Boarding costs include boarding charges, plus $250 to cover items like laundry and toiletries. Boarding charges are the net boarding fees actually charged by the institution. It doesn’t include fees for tuition or items relating to it.

In 2023, if the boarding charges for that year are $8,856 or less, you can only get Basic Boarding Allowance.

If the boarding charges for the year are more than $8,856 in 2023, you can get Additional Boarding Allowance. The amount you can get will be the lower amount of either:

  • the maximum annual rate less any reduction from the parental income test
  • the level of annual boarding costs for the student that’s more than the Basic Boarding Allowance amount.

Types of income tested

The test uses the combined taxable and other income for the tax year prior to the child’s study year. We call this the base tax year.

If your child is studying in 2023, we use the combined parental income for the 2021-22 tax year.

Parental income includes:

  • combined parental taxable income
  • tax free pensions and benefits
  • fringe benefits
  • income from outside Australia
  • reportable superannuation contributions
  • total net investment losses such as negative gearing losses for that tax year.

We deduct child support or maintenance you pay for a former partner from the parental income.

Call the Assistance for Isolated Children line to give us your income details and claim Additional Boarding Allowance.

Family pool

The family pool refers to the dependent children in your family who may affect the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance you get.

Your family pool includes dependent children who:

  • get Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance or income tested School Fees Allowance Group 2
  • get Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance
  • are aged between 16 to 19, attend secondary school
  • are aged under 16.

If there’s a shared care arrangement in place for a child in your family, we may take this into account.

You may be eligible for Additional Boarding Allowance if you meet both of the following:

  • your parental income is over $56,137 for the 2021-22 tax year
  • there are 2 or more dependent children in the family pool.

You may also get it if both the following apply:

  • you’re eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A for the child you’re claiming Additional Boarding Allowance for
  • there are 2 or more dependent children in the family pool.

If you need to update your family details, call the Assistance for Isolated Children line.

Changes to parental income in the study year

If you get Additional Boarding Allowance, you must tell us if there are any changes to parental income. Sometimes, changes to parental income can mean your payment rate changes. Your payment may also change if your child’s circumstances change.

Where there’s been a change to parental income, we can work out the parental income test on their income for the current tax year. For example, if your child is studying in 2023 and parental income significantly changes, we may use parental income for the 2022-23 tax year.

If your child is studying in 2023, you need to tell us if parental income either:

  • increases more than 25% from the 2021-22 tax year
  • decreases significantly, and you think it will reduce for 2 years or more.

You need to tell us about changes in your income so we pay you the right amount. You can do this using the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Current Tax Year Assessment form. You can submit it online, by post, fax or at a service centre.

If you can’t print the form, you can either:

Periods we exclude from the parental income test

The parental income test won’t apply if you or your partner get either:

We’ll apply the parental income test if both of the following apply:

  • you get an income support payment
  • your income support payment reduces to zero for 1 or more fortnights because of how much you or your partner earn.

The parental income test doesn’t apply if you have a Health Care Card and it’s not one of the following:

We’ll calculate your Additional Boarding Allowance. If the parental income test doesn’t apply, it’ll be assessed based on your child’s actual boarding costs.

Page last updated: 17 November 2022