The Student Loan is made up of three parts. When you apply for a loan, you choose the parts you want to apply for depending on what you need and what you qualify for. The living costs part of a Student Loan can help with your weekly expenses if you don't qualify for a Student Allowance or don't qualify for the full amount of Student Allowance.
On this page:
How much you can borrow for living costs
You can borrow up to $173.56 (from 1 April 2013) a week for living costs while you're studying, or on a study break of three weeks or less, like mid-semester breaks (less any amount you get from Student Allowance). You choose how much you want to borrow. If you don't need the full amount, ask for less.
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.
There is a lifetime limit of 7 EFTS (equivalent full-time student) for Student Loans. The EFTS count includes all study you had a Student Loan for from 1 January 2010. Even if you only borrow for your living costs, the EFTS from that Student Loan will count towards the 7 EFTS limit.
If you're receiving 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 Student Loan living costs a student can receive will be reduced by the net amount of any Student Allowance payments received.
This means you may end up receiving less than the nominated living costs amount and in some cases the living cost amount may be reduced to zero.
For example, where a Student Allowance rate is $171.84 and the nominated living costs is $173.56 the amount of living costs payable will be the nominated amount less any Student Allowance, $1.72.
Situations where you can't borrow for living costs
If you're aged 55 years or over
People aged 55 years and over are not eligible for living costs or course-related costs. They are only eligible for the compulsory fees component of the Student Loan.
If you're studying part-time
To get the living costs part of the Student Loan, you must be studying full-time or limited full-time with our approval.
If you're on a course already paid for by the government
If you're on a course already paid for by the government (eg you're a Youth Guarantee recipient or enrolled in a trades academies or tertiary high school course that is funded as part of the Youth Guarantee programme, or you're on a STAR programme, Foundation Focused Training Opportunity or a Work Focused Training course) you won't be eligible for a Student Loan, including living costs.
There are other situations where you may not be eligible for some or all parts of the Student Loan.
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).
StudyLink will publish the new amount as this changes from year to year.
You will have the option of electing 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 you may choose to have this adjusted automatically through the Consumers Price index (CPI). You can do this when you apply online or using you MyStudyLink account.
How and when payment is made
Living costs payments are direct credited to your bank account on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Your living costs payments start in the second week of your course (you are paid one week in arrears).
You can change the amount of living costs you borrow or view your payments at any time using your MyStudyLink account.
Remember, you must be fully enrolled in your course for us to be able to pay any part of your Student Loan.
How to apply
Read the process to find out what happens when you apply for a Student Loan, and when you're ready, apply online and apply early.
You need to apply for the living costs part of your Student Loan before your course starts or you may miss out on some payments.
How much you can get for living costs if you get a Student Allowance
The amount you can borrow goes down by the amount of Student Allowance you get after tax (not including the Accommodation Benefit payment).
For example, from 1 April 2013 if you get a Student Allowance of $100 a week after tax, you'll only be able to borrow up to $73.56 a week for Student Loan 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.
How living costs borrowing limits have changed
The following table shows the maximum amount of living costs that can be borrowed and how it has changed.
|From||To||You could borrow|
|1 January 1999||31 December 2008||$150 a week|
|1 January 2009||31 March 2009||$155 a week|
|1 April 2009||31 March 2010||$160.24 a week|
|1 April 2010||31 March 2011||$163.38 a week|
|1 April 2011||31 March 2012||$169.51 a week|
|1 April 2012||31 March 2013||$172.51 a week|
|1 April 2013||$173.56 a week|