What is the Tertiary Access Payment?
The Tertiary Access Payment (TAP) is a one-off payment of $5,000 to assist school-leavers from outer regional or remote areas who relocate more than 90 minutes from their home to undertake full-time, higher-level tertiary education (Certificate IV or above).
The payment is intended to assist students with the additional costs associated with relocating to undertake tertiary study.
The TAP aims to encourage individuals in outer regional and remote Australia to access high-level tertiary study (Certificate IV or above) in the year immediately following Year 12, rather than taking a gap year.
The TAP will be available for school leavers who are:
- from an outer regional, remote or very remote area (eligibility can be checked by using the Student Regional Area Search tool)
- be aged under 22 at time they commence their course
- relocate to study at an education provider at least 90 minutes by public transport from their family home
- be undertaking eligible tertiary study in the next available study period immediately following completion of Year 12 or equivalent with no gap year (or the first available semester of their chosen course if the course has a mid-year, or later, start)
- be studying face to face, or in dual delivery method, for at least part of the course
- be enrolled full time in a Certificate IV or above qualification, with a course duration of at least one academic year.
This payment is non-indexed, meaning that it won’t increase over time, and will be means-tested. Students will need to be below a parental income threshold of $250,000 to receive this payment (or be exempt from meeting this requirement).
This income cut-off is significantly higher than the means test applied to other student support payments such as Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY and will enable many students with two working parents to qualify for the payment.
Students must also be an Australian citizen or Australian resident. It is available to newly arrived migrants after 208 weeks in Australia as an Australian resident (some exemptions may apply).
Students relocating to study at a university will apply through their participating university. Students relocating to study at a non-university higher education provider or a vocational education and training provider will apply through Services Australia.
Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until allocations are exhausted.
How is the payment made?
The TAP is a one-off payment made in the student’s first year of eligible study. The TAP will be made in two instalments, $3,000 will be paid in semester one to assist with upfront costs, and $2,000 will be paid in semester two.
Students are only eligible for the TAP once.
What can the money be used for?
There are no restrictions on what the TAP money is able to be used for–students can spend the payment as they wish. The TAP can be used to cover costs associated with study. For example, this may include things like rent or bond for accommodation, household bills, groceries, textbooks or other study supplies.
Will the TAP affect other student payments?
The TAP generally won’t affect other student payments like Youth Allowance/ABSTUDY as Services Australia do consider it to be an 'equity or merit based scholarship'. This means it won’t be counted as ordinary income when Services Australia are determining whether an applicant is eligible for other income support payments, like Youth Allowance. However, Services Australia will consider these scholarships as income if the applicant receives other scholarships with a combined total of more than $8,355 per year.
Students who are eligible for the Relocation Scholarship linked to Youth Allowance/ABSTUDY payments may be eligible for the TAP. For more information about student payments, please contact Services Australia.
Why is this payment only for students from outer regional and remote areas?
The Napthine Review explicitly recommended this payment be targeted to outer regional and remote students who are relocating more than 90 minutes from their home (Recommendation 2, Action 7).
Individuals in outer regional and remote areas have substantially less access to tertiary education providers than those living in metropolitan and inner regional areas. In addition, while tertiary attainment rates are lower in all regional and remote areas, compared with metropolitan areas, the Napthine Review highlighted that this disparity increases the further away from metropolitan areas a person resides and is more pronounced at the university level.