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Author
Jess McNamara

Last Edit
2020-09-03T12:06:55

Advocate’s tips: paying for accommodation while studying

With guest, Financial counsellor, Jenny Elvey, Bendigo Family & Financial Services
*Please note this information is correct as of 1st September 2020 and is subject to change

We often receive requests for help from students related to paying for accommodation while studying or on placement. We’ve provided our responses here.

What is the Centrelink relocation scholarship and how do I apply? If I didn’t get it in first year can I get it in my second or third year?
Relocation Scholarship is a once a year payment if you get ABSTUDY or Youth Allowance. You must also need to move to or from a regional or remote area for higher education study or do approved study overseas for your Australian course or do an approved regional placement.

What is important is your ADDRESS for Centrelink purposes: you need to have two addresses to show you’ve moved away from home. Sometimes you are better off telephoning Centrelink and asking what you need to fill in where to make sure you don’t miss out!

You must meet all these rules to get this payment. You:
• are a dependent student or an independent student for a special reason
• study in a specific place
• meet the study rules
• get at least $1 each fortnight of Youth Allowance as a student or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.

To get a Relocation Scholarship as an independent student you must have a special reason. If you get Youth Allowance, the main reason why you’re independent must be one of these:
• you’re unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances
• you’re an orphan
• your parents can’t look after you
• you have or had a child
• you’re a refugee
• you’re in state care
• you’re specially disadvantaged.

If you get ABSTUDY, the main reason why you’re independent must be one of these:
• you’re unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances
• you’re an orphan
• your parents can’t look after you
• you have or had a child
• you’re caring for someone else’s child
• you have adult status in a traditional community
• you’ve been in prison for 6 months or more
• you’ve returned to live in an Indigenous community after being adopted or fostered by a non-Indigenous family for more than 2 years.

If you’re moving from a city to a regional area to study, Centrelink will check if you’re eligible for Relocation Scholarship. This is done at the following times:
• each year while you’re getting Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance
• after you apply for Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY
• after you tell Centrelink about changes to your address or study details.

If you’re eligible, Centrelink will send you a letter. If you get a letter, you’ll need to
• fill in the student part of the Verification of Campus form
• get your course provider to fill in the campus details part of the form and sign it
• submit the form and any requested documents to Centrelink.
If you don’t get a letter from Centrelink, you’re not eligible. You may be eligible later if your situation, study or payment details change.

Your payment rate of Relocation Scholarship depends on your circumstances. It depends on:
• where your family home is
• where your course is
• what year of study you’re in.
If your family home is in a regional or remote are you’ll get:
• $4,626 in the first year you need to live away from home to study
• $2,314 per year in the second and third years
• $1,156 per year after that.
If your family home isn’t in a regional or remote area but your course is you’ll get:
• $4,626 in the first year you need to live away from home to study
• $1,156 per year after that.
If your family home and your course are BOTH in major cities, even if they’re in different cities, you won’t be eligible for this payment.

I can’t afford to pay for accommodation for placement. Do you know what I can do?
You may be eligible for a Relocation Scholarship if you need to move away from home for a practical placement. The placement must be:
• a compulsory part of your course
• in a regional or remote area.
You can’t get a Relocation Scholarship for placement if you’ve already got one in the same year. There may also be grants and scholarships that you could apply for to help with placement costs. Check out https://www.latrobe.edu.au/students/opportunities/wil-placements/she/health-placements/grants-and-scholarships
The University often has accommodation available and so do other Universities – check their websites or ask friends.

As someone living on campus, what am I eligible for from Centrelink?
What payments are you currently receiving from Centrelink if any? Have you applied for rent assistance? It all depends on your personal circumstances and your parent’s circumstances as to what Centrelink payments you may be entitled to. If you would like to ring BFFS, we can look at what payments may be available to you.

The financial counsellors are available to help you for FREE! Your student advocate, Michelle, can ask questions on your behalf or make a referral. Or, you can contact Jenny and her team yourself.
Contact details:
Bendigo Family & Financial Services
8 Myers Street, Bendigo
reception@bffs.org.au
ph. 5441 5277

Michelle Barton m.barton@latrobe.edu.au / 0413 430 822
Jenny Elvey reception@bffs.org.au / 5441 5277