Students may be eligible for income support and other benefits from Centrelink.

Payment types

Centrelink is a government organisation that provides financial assistance to eligible students.

Payments that students may be eligible for include:

  • Youth Allowance: for students under 25
  • Austudy: for students over 25
  • ABSTUDY: for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students of any age
  • Jobseeker: for students over 22 and looking for work.

Other payments

Centrelink also provide other benefits to eligible students, including the:

To find out more about available payment types, see the Centrelink students and trainees website.

Important information for Masters students

See the below FAQs to find out:

  • If your University of Melbourne masters course is approved for Centrelink payments
  • How and when courses are approved for these payments.

Student Assistance Determination 2019 FAQs

  • What is the “Student Assistance Determination 2019”?

    This is the list of master by coursework programs approved by the Australian Government for student support payments.

  • Where can I view the courses currently on the “Student Assistance Determination 2019?”
    • Click on the link in the left-hand column.
  • How do courses get approved for inclusion on the “Student Assistance Determination 2019”?

    This process is managed by the Australian Government.  In summary:

    • Once per year, the Australian Government invites universities to nominate courses that meet the Government’s criteria for inclusion on the “Student Assistance Determination 2019”.
    • This generally occurs in September, for the following years’ list. Note that it isn’t possible for universities to nominate courses outside the annual cycle.
    • The Australian Government approves which courses are included on the “Student Assistance Determination 2019”.
    • Approval is based on the Australian Government’s criteria and course. Students’ individual pathways before undertaking the master course are not considered.
    • At the University of Melbourne, nomination of courses is coordinated by Student Administration. Faculty advice is requested.

    For more information about the nomination of University of Melbourne courses, contact Kris Day (Student Administration) via mbc-apps@unimelb.edu.au.

  • What’s the Government’s criteria for approving courses for inclusion on the “Student Assistance Determination 2019”?

    The Government’s criteria are strict. Inclusion is only possible if a specialist tertiary qualification is essential for entry-level employment in a specific profession as a legal or professional requirement (note that an industry’s preference for accreditation is not a legal or professional requirement). For the course to be considered a specialist tertiary qualification for entry-level employment the course needs to be:

    • Accredited by a recognised professional body and/or
    • Required for admission to a profession and/or
    • Registered with a state or territory governing body.

    The master course also needs to be meet at least one of the following:

    • Minimum legal or professional educational requirement and/or
    • Fastest pathway offered by the university (e.g. if the university also offers a professionally accepted entry-level qualifications at the diploma, graduate diploma, etc level, and these courses are shorter in duration than the masters, the master course cannot be approved) and/or
    • The only pathway offered by the university to gain entry-level employment in the profession.

    Graduate research degrees and doctorate courses (AQF10) are ineligible for these student payments.

  • My University of Melbourne course isn’t on the approved list, however a course with a similar title offered by another university is. Why is this the case?

    This is usually due to:

    • Universities' courses having different structures and/or duration, and
    • the Australian Government’s criteria for courses to be approved (see previous FAQ).
  • What are my options if my course isn’t on the “Student Assistance Determination 2019” or I am ineligible for these student support payments for another reason?


    • Other funding options, including those outlined on the University’s financial aid website.
    • Explore deferring commencement of your course (or taking Leave of Absence if you’ve already commenced your course), or enrolling in a reduced study load to enable you to undertake additional paid employment.
    • Consider transferring to a course that is already included on the Determination. You can view the currently approved courses on the following website (see Schedule 3). If you transfer to another course, you may be eligible to receive credit/advanced standing for your previous studies.

    The Stop 1 team can provide course and enrolment advice.

  • I am enrolled in the University of Melbourne Master of Engineering (MC-ENG) course which is not currently included in the current “Student Assistance Determination 2019”. Are Australian Government student support payments available for this course?

    Yes, payments are still possible however you may need to take some additional steps.

    If you are already receiving payments for this course, and continue to meet all other payment eligibility requirements, you will receive payments until you complete the M-ENG course.

    If you are not currently receiving payments, apply for payments as follows:

    Step 1:  Apply to Services Australia for payments. As part of this check that you meet the standard eligibility requirements to receive student payments.

    Step 2: Email your Services Australia Client Reference Number (CRN) and your University of Melbourne student number to Kris Day (Student Administration; via mbc-apps@unimelb.edu.au). This will enable the Australian Government’s Department of Social Security to be advised that you’ve submitted an application for student payments for a MC-ENG enrolment.

    The procedure outlined above applies until the MC-ENG course is re-added to the Student Assistance Determination 2019, which is expected to be toward the end of 2022. Once MC-ENG has been re-added to the Determination, Step 2 won’t be necessary as it will be widely known within Services Australia that MC-ENG is an approved course.

Still not sure?

To talk about Centrelink or anything else related to your finances, please book an appointment with a Financial Aid Adviser.