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Living costs

You may be able to borrow living costs if you need help with your weekly expenses and you don't qualify for a Student Allowance or don't qualify for the full amount of Student Allowance. The amount you borrow is added to your Student Loan, you'll have to pay it back so make sure you only borrow what you need.

Am I eligible for living costs?

To get living costs you'll need to be studying full-time (or Limited full-time with our approval) and have an approved Student Loan.

You won't be able to get living costs if you have an approved Student Loan and you are:

  • aged 55 years and over at the start date of your course or
  • receiving a main benefit from Work and Income or
  • in prison (not including home detention) or
  • on a study break of more than three weeks.

Studying on a Youth Guarantee Programme or a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification

You may be eligible for living costs if you are:

  • under 18 years old and started studying a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification before 1 January 2014 or
  • 18-19 years old and started in a Youth Guarantee Programme on or after 1 January 2014 or
  • 18-24 years old and started studying a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualfication on or after 1 January 2014.

You'll need to meet the eligibility criteria for a Student Loan and be studying full-time (or Limited full-time with our approval).

Note: students who turn 18 while studying a fees-free Level 1 or Level 2 qualification or a Youth Guarantee Programme will not be eligible for living costs until their next enrolment.


How much you can borrow

You can borrow up to $175.96 (from 1 April 2014) a week for living costs. You choose how much you want to borrow. If you don't need the full amount, ask for less.

If you're getting a Student Allowance

In some situations you may be eligible for living costs and also be receiving a Student Allowance.

In these cases the amount of living costs you can borrow reduces by the amount of Student Allowance you get after tax (not incuding the Accommodation Benefit).

For example (from 1 April 2014), if you get a Student Allowance of $100 a week after tax, you'll only be able to borrow up to $75.96 a week for living costs.

If your Student Loan for living costs is approved before your Student Allowance, you'll receive your living costs payments until you start getting the Student Allowance. Once your Student Allowance is approved, any back payments you are entitled to will automatically be used to repay the difference in Student Loan living costs you have borrowed for the same period.

Unlike the Student Allowance, your Student Loan living costs are not affected by any other income you earn. However, if you do start to earn other income it's a good idea to reduce your living costs payments, because what you borrow you have to pay back.


How Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments change what you can borrow

On 1 April each year, the amount of living costs you can borrow may be adjusted by changes to the Consumers Price Index (CPI).

You can choose to borrow the increased living costs amount when this becomes available, but remember that you have to pay it back, so only borrow what you need.

If you choose to receive the maximum amount of living costs each week ($175.96 from 1 April 2014) when you apply for your Student Loan, you can ask us to adjust it automatically with any changes to the Consumers Price index (CPI). You can also update this later using you MyStudyLink account.


How to apply for living costs

You will tell us the amount of living costs you want to borrow when you apply for your Student Loan. If you already have an approved Student Loan and want to start receiving living costs, you can do this using your MyStudyLink account.


How and when payment is made

Living costs can only be paid from:

  • the date the Student Loan is approved from or
  • the date you start study or
  • the date you nominate them,

whichever is later.

Payments start in the second week (you are paid one week in arrears).

Living costs payments are direct credited to your bank account on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

You can change the amount of living costs you borrow or view your payments at any time using your MyStudyLink account.


Last updated: 01 April 2014