What is Centrelink?

Centrelink is a part of the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance to people who need it most. This includes people who are unemployed, retired, unable to work due to illness and of course students. All payments that are provided through are funded through Australian Tax payers.

There are some Taxpayers who do not like the thought of their money funding students to study. In truth these payments provided to students are an investment into the future of the country. Think of it this way if a student is provided say $30,000 as a rough figure over 3 years while they study and it enables them to get a job as an Accountant. As an Accountant in 10 years time that same person could earn upto $180,000 per annum and with that much income, without doing anything to minimise tax they will be paying over $50,000 each year.

More importantly the benefit Centrelink provides is to enable Australians from every background to be able to afford university and not just those with wealthy generous parents or gifted academically to get scholarships.

Centrelink assists students through providing fortnightly payments for them known as Austudy or Youth Allowance. These payments probably are not enough to live off and for many they are not even enough to pay the rent, but they certainly make it easier. Students can work while in receipt of these benefits but there are limits on how much they can earn before their entitlements is reduced and if they earn enough they will not be entitled to anything.

Besides the core benefits Austudy and Youth Allowance, students may also be entitled to receive Rent Assistance, and the Student Start up scholarship.

Rent assistance does not pay the rent as the name suggests but it’s a token to help you meet this expense. Depending on a students living arrangement and if they are either sharing or living alone and how much their rent actually costs will determine the rate of rent assistance they are entitled to.

The student Start-up Scholarship is a payment of over a thousand dollars that is paid twice a year at the beginning of each university semester to help with all those expensive costs of textbooks, stationary and everything else. All you need to be entitled to the Student Start-up Scholarship is to receive $1 of Austudy or Youth Allowance.

There are other benefits that Centrelink pays to students and depending on their situation they may be entitled. I plan to write more blogs on this in the future.

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